Tales From The Bus Stop

The wet heat spackled the bus stop squatters with sweat. She sat in the power chair watching two clouds reach out to each other in the broad blue sky above the buildings. The clouds curled towards each other as if to try to make love in the almost barely present huffs of air and far above a twister formed and unformed in the sunshine. Although she was mostly deaf as deaf goes in one who once heard birds and orchestras and sang arias with her now dead father…

she shook her head.

There was an odd tinkle in the clear blue as the clouds tried so hard to impress one another with dancing shapes of T-Rex skeletons and eagles faces and the angelic music pelted down softly in her one good ear. It was a sound that was barely there. Surely it was angels?

She smiled at nothing and looked around from behind the dark UV lenses.

There was a boy with a cardboard sign and a beat up portable keyboard that sat in his lap. Although people who were beggars did not attempt to look nice this boy did look nice. He wore a white, pressed shirt and one fake rhinestone in his ear. His lips moved softly and his close-cropped black hair had stars shaven in it. A ring of homeless people sat around him while he played and expected nothing from those who had nothing. He opened his eyes, dark and dancing like the clouds, and smiled at the audience before the number 38 that went downtown swept them away in a whoosh of loud rumble…

Dust

Ruhkjao!

She stood in front of the horse-shoe shaped table with the mountain of evidence she had gathered and his mothers standing beside her. Although she was terrified to speak in front of crowds she did speak in front of this crowd ,of suits and briefcases, without passing out. They were number 72 to speak before the pardon and parole board.

Almost the last in line.

Most of the day they had watched as case after case was rejected for parole. Most of those who presented the pardon and parole cases were attorneys but their attorney had not bothered to show up. He had told the man’s mother there was no chance for pardon or parole the day before.

She took the man’s mother with her, in her car, anyway the next day.

Before they entered the courthouse the man’s mother turned to her and said, “The girl who was in love with him came and pleaded on his behalf today. She claims he left you because living with you was more like living with another man that with a woman. She claims he told her you never wanted to cook or clean or have sex or be like a woman and that was why he left you for her.”

She hung her head. This was true but this was a man who was completely incapable of taking care of anyone but himself. Up to that point she had paid most of the rent and quit drinking and all those things BY HERSELF and STAYED WITH HIM and EVEN LET HIM bring the girl home and the he had chosen the girl over her and the girl had an accident with a baby that they called murder, even though it was not, and he had taken the blame from her because he loved her and once he was cuffed she had left him high and dry.

Her best buddy.
Her best friend.

She even loved him ‘like that’ once upon a time, before he left her for a girl 10 years younger who was still same brand of party animal he was, and went ‘straight’ in a world that left her so alone that death seemed preferable to life and IN SPITE of ALL THAT she was pursuing her degree and was already guaranteed a job as an adjunct professor at the local state college.

She stood up before the board and presented her evidence. her stomach lurched as a series of humiliating questions was given her; one by each member of the group.

“Do you promise to cook and keep the house if we leave him in your care?”

She looked at them all squarely and said, “Yes!” With her head held high and his mothers hand gripping hers under the podium.

“Do you promise to do your ‘wifely duties?”

“If you mean sex sir, yes I will!”

This series of questions seemed to be more important than the fact he was innocent and as they humiliated her she stood up anyway and answered every single question in the horse shoe shaped hell.

As she answered each question a wall built in her heart. She was being accused of not being woman enough to keep a man happy and out of trouble because of the testimony of the girl who had gone before her earlier in the day. Her heart became like a stone. She did not want to stay married to this man. All this she had done for him and…

…if he got out he wanted her to become like her mother.

Well if that was what he wanted he was going to have to become like her father!

They let him go and she gave him the terms that she had in her heart if she was to leave love, career and everything that had come to define her, in the dust of time for the sake of his release and he promised to be that man.

He tried.
He really tried but he was not that kind of man.

Some years later she divourced him and cried while she drove away with her father who was still living. She had nothing at all to show for that moment honour…

…nothing at all but dust.

Jaffary and the Bush People

The world was fresh then. New and bright and full of promise we were immortal and had not yet faced the things that life would serve us. We had cried many tears already and had no idea how many more we were to cry. We thought we had already suffered more than the world needs any human being to suffer but we had no idea what suffering really was. We were epic. We were so certain of every part of Life.
They called us ‘The Bush People’ and we were that. We were an odd little group of people knit together by some strange diplomacy that allowed a mix of extremes that would not, normally, be allowed. We had a minor reputation.
It began on an Ivy League college campus 1000 years ago just yesterday. That day a man I knew only as ‘Jaffary’ had invited me to coffee in the hostel across from the campus and what was supposed to be a social meeting quickly turned into a fencing match. While we sipped up a whole pot of caffeine spiked coffee this man, wearing an expensive three-piece suit, tried to convince me to go up to his room with him.
“Why should I? We can talk down here just fine.”
It was the end of the days of the Oil Boom. I was 24 years old. I thought I was ancient.
“You can make ALOT of money if you come with me!”
“If you mean the kind of money women make for sex I have been there and done that. I am not interested.” I sipped my third cup of coffee actually enjoying the verbal fencing with this guy but also feeling a chorus of danger singing in the back of my head. This made the whole situation even more piquant. I should have long gone of course but I had to stay to see the snake charmer in action…
…being an Ophiuchus.
“You are beautiful…” he went on praising me and I almost blew hot coffee through my nose trying not to laugh. “…we need models to show off cars and clothes for our company and you would be perfect.”
I smiled at him, “You are lying but this is interesting. I told you I have been there and done that and you are trying to sell me this idea so you can sell me?”
His face changed then. I went to the bathroom and came back and he poured me some more coffee with a smirk on his face and then smiled and said, “Have one more cup for the road and I will leave you alone.” Something told me that would be a bad idea and I turned him down, politely, and left. He stalked me on campus for a little while and that is how I met, and became, one of the ‘Bush People.’
I crossed the road back to the campus and went to English Class and the teacher there instantly disliked me. The feeling was mutual. I was a ‘back bencher’ at the time and he was sitting two rows ahead of me. Just before she called the roll, on the first day of class, I called out in front of the whole class, “Hey you with the long hair!” There was only one of him with long hair. He knew this although he did not turn around to look right away. “You have beautiful hair!”
He laughed. That was the perfect laugh: angelically evil. “Thank you!” he said while the teacher gave us a dirty look and called roll. (The teacher loved handsome guys, it turns out, and ended up liking him and hating me because I got to hang out with him.)
After class he came up to me and smiled.
He had vampire teeth and I loved that. Real ones not fake caps. I was talking to a real life vampire that ‘sparkled’ before that sort of thing ever existed. We went to the student union and I let him eat all my pizza. As we walked out we found out we also had psychology class together and I saw Jaffary, with a briefcase, following us. I looked at my new friend and had to tell him what had happened before class.
“He is following us he is right back there…look…”
I pointed but Jaffary was gone.
He grinned like a happy devil. “If you see him again don’t point or act like you saw him. Just tell me and I will kill him for you.”
I was in love.
We would never be lovers but, in all the years, he would become among those I never forgot.
The Guro

Fool’s Gold

She didn’t want to remember the time 100 people signed a petition against me for being a witch when I was only in the fourth grade. Years of abuse was my normal life but people will only recall that I was a loser and a fool…

…so it is?

Yet way back before Time began there was a place. Today I was there for a nano-particle of a wave on the shores of the Universe. In a tiny place full of oddities and strange dragons and very very small gnomes sitting upon carpets of moss was a table of things for sale. As I approached the table, holding tightly to the staff of wisdom I have earned, with short and wobbly gait and a breath of eternity passed over me and I heard the laughter of the fields…

…now built over with homes.

It has been decades since the day I last had that breath upon me.

She and I would shortly start to discuss the fact that God is the only reason we are even still here as a species. How we don’t see reality even when we think we do. How we can say one thing with surety in one sentence and contradict that very same thing in another sentence and yet in between being the guardian and the philosopher I was a child and the sun was not too hot nor the breeze too strong and magic filled it enough for me to know that we are only temporary in these bags of flesh and the tiny, silver trays that once belonged to a now-scattered tea set would have, in times gone, held more riches than human eyes can see and I saw them all for that tiny slice of time.

I was going to buy the little silver tray but first I wanted to go inside the “crooked little house with the crooked little mouse” and see if a crooked little man lived there who was friends with the dragons. Slowly, painfully I pushed my way up the two steps in the crab-fashion I have adopted for these situations and opened the crooked door.

It was full of moss and terrariums and small miniatures of all a person would need for a fearie garden and on one table laid the bones of my homeland: Jasper, Quartz, Peacock Copper, Rose-rock, Trilobites, Agate and ‘Fool’s Gold.’ Papa started to laugh silently. I knew then that buying anything here would not buy me back that moment but only the memory of the moment but, Papa said it was OK to buy something to recall the moment with. I chose Iron Pyrite.

I held the gold in my hand and closed my eyes and the days flooded back. The days when no one ran the A/C in the Summer and the world outside was all there was to live in and way hot sun smelled on new blacktop and the way a grape Popsicle tasted near the loud and crowded pool at Sulphur Springs. The day I bent over and saw the glint of sun nestled in the ever-shifting red-lands and how I pried it loose from the bosom of the Land and held a piece of sunlight in my hand and knew I was going to be rich and…

…I ran, like the ‘wind the sweeps down the plains’, with a handful of GOLD!

Papa was in the garage and the hum of his rock-tumbler was going and I tugged at his red over-alls and screamed happily!

“GOLD! Papa GOLD! GOLD!”

I opened my hand. He took the Gold nugget in his hand and threw back his head and laughed and laughed. All white white teeth and black black hair smiling and laughing. When he stopped he said,

“Let me show you something. These are all rocks from this region…”

He began to teach me all about the rocks from where we lived. I started to collect rocks. I learned that what I had found was not real gold but fools gold and I went back to the place where I got it to dig for more of it and I found Feldspar and peeled it apart and saw the small crystals that were like what sheet glass could have been in Thumbelina’s Castle. All of this happened in less than a nanosecond. A whole day passed while Papa and I laughed in the crooked house with the crooked door at the Gold of Fools…because he taught me something more that day: Even if it had been real gold it still would have been nothing in the vast spans of time that are compressed in eternity.

Arms Still Empty

Is it too much to ask of the universe to…

…no wait it has…many many times but I could not see through the lens of rain…
This very moment could be bliss…and yet it is…

…is sorrow a kind of bliss?
So the poet asks and the universe is silent…

…or maybe I am deaf in many ways…maybe I want too much…maybe even the angel would not be enough nor the fearie world?

Just drown in the shallow pool of the seconds ticking by as quickly as rain patters from the skies lay back and close your eyes and dream the dream you saw upon the child’s face who is an old man already in arms empty even while they held another soul…

…my own eyes accuse me…how can I say it was another’s fault when I was there as well helping to fire the pottery of us that shattered from it’s early flaws?

So poets have asked for thousands of years.

Life Does Go Onwards

“It has always been this way it seems.” She sighed the words in her mind and planned the day. All the years she was second to something. Second to rock music. Second to porno. Second to other women. Second in literal importance. People think second is better than nothing but, like the Aldous Huxley novel she read when she was a kid that was a part of being a Beta person. Deltas had no idea they were less than anyone else it was all engineered that way, only life is not a novel and…well anyway.

While she washed her dishes, across the city a man and a woman were screaming at each other. In the middle of the fight the man left and the woman went to the laundry room and started the clothes for the kids to wear tomorrow and tried not to cry. She had given him all of her time when he was weak and sick and they made plans to stay together forever and now he was….

She had met that woman. He had told her that woman was a poor old crippled lady and yes she was that but she was a PRETTY lady for all she was old and the way she looked at him spoke volumes about what she felt about him….she sighed and the sun fell.

The old lady had finished the dishes and the house and gotten dressed up all pretty. He had said he was coming and the week before he had said it every day and had not come and everyone had told her he was a liar and to kick him but…

She looked at her hands. They had only held someone with false love four times in fourteen years as if there was some curse upon her that…

….no don’t ruin the night or the chance!

The sun dropped over the lip of the city and there was a knock at the door. She opened it and there he was smiling! He opened his arms and she hugged him then and cried because it felt so beautiful to be near another human being like that. Her head fit right under his shoulder and…

It was a dream of a night with red low lights and music and playing with the phone and learning he was a fascinating person and it felt like being a teenager again. There is always a price to pay of course for that. Smart women ask for money but she was never a smart woman to ask for anything so when the violent part of love happened she let it happen because she knew that you don’t open the door without knowing what is possible.

The next day she was sore but it was worth it and the antibiotics too.

A week later he had come by twice and nothing had happened but pure love and a week later she called too.

He told her he was in Kansas City and was grounded and could not make it back in time to see the kids that night. That was OK that happened a lot as he was a pilot. She kept thinking about the woman she had met. She had kicked him out of her bed of course and he deserved that as he was…she sighed…she was always second to his airplanes and whoever was on the ground there. After some days she decided to find the woman and call her. She did that and decided to take the kids and they all went swimming together and had a grand time! How much to tell the poor old lady?

She called after that swim day and both women talked. The old lady never told her more had happened than what she had been told had happened, but the old lady sighed as she hung up the phone and crossed another one off her list and heart…not that her list in life had been that long or that she had the life of a family or the real love of a man who knew how to love but hey…

… Oh bla di oh bla da life goes on.

Fast Slide to Hell Too

Toddplylant.comIt’s weird sometimes how something real and mundane can hit you in a new light. The stuff we lose a little bit at a time for various reasons; hair, teeth, eyesight. When I was a kid I thought I would hate myself if I ever got that way and now it is a normal state of affairs. It is a reminder that this flesh shell we are in decomposes from the day we are born. It has been said many times before and yet this old idea still is quite fresh because it happens to everyone and is new to each individual it happens to; from the day you are born you are on your way to an appointment with death.

We try not to think about this and in some ways maybe that is a good thing. If we thought about it all the time we might be like some mystic in a cave spending every second in nothing but trying to reach the ‘other side’ before we reach the ‘otherside’ to prove it’s truth so we can go in peace and yet it is faith only that often has that peace inherent in it…The irony…to the logical reasoning man who can comprehend the idea of eternity…to give that being a limited life in the world of the senses and then give no proof after these senses that there is more.

A few claim they have reached this place of KNOWING. I think I have sometimes and then I try not to think about this as a dizzy spell hits or I weep alone. During these times we have nothing BUT faith. Faith that there is a Paradise and faith that if we love The God we will maybe get there. It is not simple to ignore pain because you know that you will have to figure out your own health as the doctors, aside from a couple of medications, will not touch you. Then you know that even everything those with some of your same problems got with the ‘cadillac’ insurance that you will get something at least and something is better than nothing….but it also leaves you knowing that things are never equally balanced and perhaps never can be…as this world is an imperfect place.

Everything about being Human is a sin it seems. Sorrow is a sin. Hopelessness is a sin. Desire is a sin. Yet we all have these things in us. Whatever shall we do with them then? Like this moment when I wish for eternity or for human love…..

Maybe there are no answers.
Maybe one day in Paradise?

Fast Slide to Hell

Toddplylant.comEveryone has a part of them that never shows…Anyone who said they didn’t would be a liar…Just because I write things does not mean they happen in real life...indeed in some cases fastasy is full of winged things….don’t feel bad if you think you are bad…everyone has that in them….the only thing is we cannot live that way in out reality or the world would be chaos. This is why there are rules and laws….this is why people may be one way sometimes and another at other times. I tried to be good for years…I tried to be holy for years and for the last year in particular I have found that everyone is like me. In fact some do not even come close to what is in my mind…I have self control in real life….so my answer will be ‘no’ 99.9% of the time but I am still human and not dead and I have no more belief in the kind of love found in my wonderful fearie tale I first allowed to be seen….would that such love and such people were real. Even the holiest at Playboy….even those who would seem most innocent one day shock with a photo that was accidentally geared wrong…sometimes I get tired of trying to be good when the whole world seems like it is on a fast slide to hell…but even then those of us with no one need someone even if we have to write them ourselves…As I do…

Suicide Ghetto

On April 12th of this year someone committed suicide at the little small-town-crack-head-red-neck-ghetto I used to live in about three months ago.  I had lived there for three years. Alone most of the time except for mom. Plenty of you here know that already who knew me for a long time and some of you were friends of mine YEARS back when I was still married to that Pakistani Northerner but I digress.

It has always been a sad place. Back in 92, (when some of you were toddlers), I lived there when I was in college and in love and in a rage at the injustice of the justice system that sought to wrongly convict an innocent man…even if it WAS his fault for choosing her over me. My mom is friends with an 81 year old woman now whose son lived there at the time. I never met him back then and my mom had not met his mother yet either and the world was still younger and had promise.

I never thought, back then, that I would still be poor enough lo’ those many years later to end up BACK in the same ghetto where I met the greatest love of my life but life is weird that way and after my last divource I did end up back there again and by that time mom was friends with the woman whose son used to live there. As I write this I am having the strangest feeling that…(no not today…not yet)…but anyway she came to see where I lived and was shocked.

Her son had committed suicide in the unit I lived in.

He had hung himself.

She told me about him and how he was  Harley Biker and how a wreck had ruined his life forever. As cripple he could no longer ride and he used to sit outside in the sun and get drunk and fill a fifty gallon grey trash can with beer cans.

Sometimes when I was there I fancied he was ghosting around but he was a harmless sort if he was and, in the oddest stretch of fate, the same place I met met the greatest love of my life was the same place I was living, 20 years later, when I met him again. The same place I thought I lost my best friend of 30 years forever in was the same place I lost him forever again in…Both life and the world go ’round in circles.

I was surprised to read that there was yet ANOTHER suicide-by-hanging there to yet ANOTHER man but at the same time it makes sense.

There was a woman, who lived in back of me next door to the haunted laundry, who worked at Wal Mart. She claimed evil spirits visited her apartment and that they possessed her son. People, from back in the 90’s, who still lived there, said the site was on Sacred Indian Burial Land. Weird how it is that is the last stop, on the way to homelessness, out of town on Rt. 66. That is where the lowest of the society of that town go when there is no where else to go and once upon a time not long ago I lived there. It could be a terrifying place. But even so I had a garden…

…until the Crack-head manager had her lawn guy level it.

They didn’t kill me. I think they liked me but those they possessed tried…

…they really tried.

(See second entry in the listing)

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Charlemagne-Apartments-YukonOk/133986960069740

10th Street Gangsta Kid

Now I am not suggesting that anyone go out and trust the world without question but, ever so often, something weird happens and it makes you wonder about things. Back in the day I lived over near The Red Dog Saloon on 10th street and there were plenty of shootings and robberies that went on down there and everyone knew it. The heli were out every weekend searching for escaped felons and drug dealers…sick bird men and women and belligerent drunks. Not the kind of place you’d ever even wanna pick up a pre teen with dropped pants on the week end…

…even the kids ’round there people said they packed. Maybe it was fear because that street was the bumper hood between the haves and the have-nots but anyway there was a Friday night at, like, one am in the cold early spring one day and it was raining cats and dogs!

I was driving back home from seeing my soon-to-be ex husband at that time from the neighbouring town and there was a kid walking up the side of the flooded water-logged road. He didn’t have any protection not even a torn open garbage bag! Kid looked pretty miserable and, against my better judgement, I pulled over and asked him if he needed a ride.

It was a really weird moment for us both. Here I was; some blond white lady who just got a degree from college driving a grey Honda who pulled over and asked 14 year old dropped pants black gangsta kid If he needed a lift…

He did it turns out.

He didn’t look at me as he got in the passenger side and it suddenly occurred to me that the kid was scared…

…of me.

Shouldn’t it have been the other way around? This was most odd!

“Where’ you goin’?”
“‘Bout five-six blocks up…”

He was staring at the floor board of the passenger side with single minded determination!

I kept driving and he moved his head and I noticed he had looked at my purse, which was sitting on the area just behind the gear shift between the seats and then, from the corner of his eye he looked at me in surprise when I smiled at him and kept driving. Then he looked at the floor board again. We drove the rest of the way in a weird tense silence in the oddest reversal of roles I ever experienced.

“Here…” He said in a whisper as we turned into one of the most notorious of the properties on 10th Street. I pulled in and a huge crack of thunder boomed and lightning struck in the sheeting rain as I stopped in the main lot of the apartments he asked me to take him to…as he got out it was clear the kid had a gun. He could have easily nabbed my purse and run but, somehow, he was suddenly as vunerable looking as any kid I ever saw anywhere and, I was almost worried about him as he sauntered out into the dark rain and disappeared into the buildings.

Now I am not saying everyone should trust everyone. My dad was once maced by a white gal, who tried to kife his wallet, who was was hitchin’ on I-40 but you never can tell about people…

…no you never can tell.

Hacking The Mainframe

About 25,00 years…oops sorry I mean 25 years…no it was just a coupla days ago…

…ANYWAY!

I was doing a research paper on one of my fave subjects, The Mughal Empire, and went searching through the libraries data base to find the information.

To give you an idea of how old I am, the data base for the mainframe of the college I attended, was only a year or so old. They still had the card catalogue available for those who had no idea how to use the computers. Now I am STILL not tech savvy in the SLIGHTEST but I was curious. I had never used a computer before. Of course, back then, everything was still ‘DOS’ and you couldn’t ‘Google’ things it was basically just a data-base. I wanted to see if I could find all the books I needed without a card catalogue.

OK.

I am blond. This means, in American Terms, something like a ‘Pathan.’ In some ways very smart and in other ways…maybe it’s true blonds have more fun? Eh heck I don’t believe that but, yeah, in some ways I am a typical blond. I can’t tell you if that is culture (Blonds DO have a culture!) or if it was nurture but hey, this isn’t a psyche paper so ?

I was DETERMINED to find EVERY BOOK using ONLY the computer! (Right now my Facebook DP is distracting me because I think I look like one of mom’s Pomeranian and that is a BLOND thing!)

I went up to the monitors that were placed in a modular manner on some long tables and went to work…

…only I could not figure out what to do!

Slowly, carefully I put my data requirements in the search engine. I refined them using key words. I was looking very hard for information that was not in the data base and, no matter what I did, my efforts were in vain! Finally, on a whim, I decided to type in a foreign word to see if it could prod the ‘DOS beast’ into vomiting up the information I needed. I typed the word in.

Suddenly the computer went INSANE! Things started cascading across the screen so fast I could barely keep up and I am a speed reader! My heart started to pound! What had I done! I looked around and saw the other people using the data base were also freaking out! Some were cursing, softly, under their breath and in less than a nanosecond the whole thing went blank screen and locked up!

Quickly I got up and we all fought over the card catalogue!

The next coupla days the school college paper, (it was still printed on paper), came out and the headline blazed, “ANONYMOUS HACKER SHUTS DOWN THE ENTIRE COLLEGE DATA BASE!”

I cringed inside.

The article went on to explain how someone had used a key word known only to the programmer, who was from India, (yes things never change), and had done a malicious act of terror on the college data base system that would take a week to repair.

It was an accident…

…or blond destiny?

Nine of Ten

(These events are real but the characters and certain details have been altered to protect the family to which these events occurred.)

He watched his older siblings go to work every day. They were in their early or late teens and the oldest four, of those ten children, were already in the military or working in factories. It was the end of ‘The Great Depression.’ He had seen his father once or twice but his mother said his father was in prison now.

His father was a drunk, with other women besides his mother, but he did not know that until well into manhood. All he knew now was he was hungry.

“Mama? I will go out and hunt for eggs! If I get eggs you cook them?”

She said nothing but smiled at him and he ran out to the dirt yard out in what was then rural West Texas and found that the hens had run away. She watched him out the window. He was too young to understand that they were old hens and the chicks were too young to lay and that they had no food in the house and might not have until his brothers and sisters came home from their farm work later in the season. He was too young to understand that there was no food for the animals now and they had gone to make the soup they had eaten this week. She watched, with regret, as he grabbed his youngest brothers hand, and they ran to the now empty nests to look for food.

“CARL! BERTIE!!!!!” She yelled out the open door. “Get back to the house we are going into town!”

He still had Bertie by the hand and dragged him back. Bertie was only two years old but he knew he was FOUR years old! He watched his mother with her still-black, long straight hair, that was pulled into a bun on her neck, tie a scarf around her head and get out her red shawl she knitted herself. He looked at her face and he knew there was something wrong.

“Mama?”

“Hush Carl!”

He hushed. He always did what mama said because she would smack them with a rubber spatula if they misbehaved but she would hold him and rock him and his baby brother and sing French songs to them and tell them stories about a huge rich farm his siblings worked on in a different part of Texas. She would sing,

“Gue gue solangue

Balliez chimin la

Gue gue solangue

Balliez chimin la…”

He and his brother Bertie, whose nik name was ‘Bitty’ on account of that was what it sounded like when Carl said his name, would fall asleep. He loved her so much. She was the most beautiful woman on earth. Right now she had on her ‘Sunday-go-to-meeting’ clothes. That meant maybe the ice cream parlor! He started to dance around!

“Mama mama I LOVE YOU MAMA!”

“Bring your little ‘Bitty’ with you…you and Bitty hurry along now. Keep up with me!” She looked at the few pennies in her purse that was all there was left of anything they had in the whole world and made her heart hard for the sake of her boys. She started walking towards town on a dusty dirt road in the country that Carl would see again one day, paved, and part of the biggest city in Texas, but now he kept a tight hold of Bitty’s hand as they ran after their mother down the road.

They had started out in the morning. It was afternoon when they reached town. People here already had cars, radios and a very very few even had TELEVISIONS! Carl stared around with his skinny, knobby-kneed country legged pants, covered with road dust, and became very quiet as he followed his mother up a pretty, nicely paved street. She grabbed both boys hands and, looking resolute, stood tall and straight with her head high, and took both boys to the front door. She knocked and a woman, smoking a cigarette, answered. Carl had seen this woman before. This woman was married to his uncle…the one the townspeople called ‘nigger-lips.’

The woman let them in the house and both woman went into another room and left Carl and Bitty, sitting stiff and uncomfortable and hungry, on a fancy, brocade sofa. The woman of this house worked for a living and had worked most of her life. She was one of the original ‘Rosy the Riveters.’ She had no children.

She was well off by the standards of that day.

Both women came back into the living room and Carl’s mother told him the bare truth,

“Son, I can’t take care of you anymore. I had to divource your father. He is still in prison and I have no idea when he’ll get out. There is no food in the house and I know you are hungry. I am leaving you here with your new mother…”

She took Bitty by the hand and left quickly so he would not see her cry. He tried to follow her but the woman grabbed him and hugged him while he beat on her and tried to get away crying…

“Maaaaaaa maaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!! MAAAAAAAA!!!!! MAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! BITTYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!”

When they were out the door the woman let him go and he quit kicking her and ran to the window and watched his old life walk away from him. The woman who would now be his mother said,

“Son? I have breakfast cooking. I have to go to work and the lady next door will take care of you while I am at work. You can eat all you want I know you have not eaten in a long time.”

Carl looked at the woman. She looked sad too like he felt. She looked like a nice lady. He was soory he kicked her.

“Is mama coming back?”

“No son she is not coming back she promised me you belong to me now. Your father will be home before I will be home. Be respectful.”

“He is Uncle Nigger-lips.”

He screamed and kicked her again when she smacked his face.

“He is your uncle and you will NOT call him ‘nigger-lips!”

Then she took him into the dining room and fed him the tallest stack of pancakes he ever saw covered with honey! With his belly full and all the stress of the day he fell into a deep sleep as his new mother left for work at the telephone company. He had no idea when the neighbour woman picked him up and tucked him away on a big soft fancy bed, with fancy carved furniture, in his own room.

He would later come to love the woman who raised him and even defended her when the Jehovah Witnesses came to tell her she was not good enough to raise him because she was a ‘working woman.’ He came into the parlor with a butcher knife in each small, childish hand and GLARED at them until they quickly excused themselves.

He had come ‘home.’

I Think I Am Shrinking…

…over the last two years I had a knot in my back and I just kept going. Last year they said I was 5′ feet 7.5″ or 5′ feet 7″ depending on who measured me. Today they said I am 5′ feet 5″.

I haven’t been ‘double nickles’ since I was 16.

I was wondering why my weight loss did not seem to change my body shape to what it was when I weighed this same amount back in 2006. To get the same body shape I had then, if I really lost two inches in one year, I would have to lose double what I have lost.

I would not mind if it is not anything serious but i don’t want to be the recipient of spinal stenosis just because I had 25 head/neck ‘rad blasts’ back in ’06.

When I see my primary care doc next Tuesday I am going to ask him to take my height again. He is the last one with a 5′ 7″ ruling from last year and if he comes up with double nickles like the lady did today I want to know why I shrunk two inches in one year and if that is why my upper back is having the ‘paresthesias crawlies’?

If I even shrunk an inch in one year I want to know why but I am hoping the lady today was just wrong or her measuring scale was different…either way I will know by Tuesday.

The Edmond Mosque

Nadeem posted me some videos to watch by a popular Islamic scholar. I heard them over my iPhone he gave me and after the last one Memory came and tapped me on the shoulder.

First I have to say that, in recent events, I now have a cover like others who are also writers and help from an IT guy when I needed it and he was reliable and prompt to answer.

All these people are Pakistani.

People often call the names here having no real knowledge of anything. People from India, Pakistan and Saudia Arabia are all ‘Rag-heads’ but those ‘rag-heads’ are as culturally diverse and different and you can imagine and hardly anyone from Pakistan wears ‘rags’ on their heads. People just see someone brown and assume that shade of brown is the same and do not even bother to notice name, dress, or any other factor that might show there are differences.

As I finished listening to the videos and Memory came I told Nadeem the story from 1991.

I was living with my friends then. I lived with them for six months. During that time I learned so many things. The most important thing being that they loved and accepted me just the way I was and I was a crazy messed up person.

One night at midnight everyone was awake, with the exception of those who had to get up early. We were talking about God and Fahad and Faraz decided they would show me the mosque. I was concerned. I said,

“I am not Muslim. I am not supposed to see the inside of one unless I am Muslim because that is what I have always been told.”

“No no! It is not like that!,” said Fahad, “The imam there he loves all people he will talk with all people or teach anyone who asks and wants to learn. He will not mind.”

Fahad had a key. He was one of those who could recite much of the Quran and maybe even a hafiz, although if he was he never bragged about it. He was a very holy-minded person but not the kind that beat people over the head with it. He was the kind that lived what he believed and smiled and was always happy and peaceful. It was Winter it was and cold out so I was wearing a heavy knitted shawl. Fahad got the key and Faraz drove us both to the mosque.

We pulled into the parking lot and Fahad unlocked the door.

“Do I have to cover my head?”

“No you are not Muslim you do not need to cover.” Fahad smiled at me.

I was going to enter without my head covered but I could not show less respect in a holy building than I had shown in a Catholic Church when I had to wear a ‘mantilla’ to church when I was a child. To the surprise of them both I pulled my heavy shawl over my head….

…and we went in. It was very small and simple. There were notices on the wall and I peeked into the main prayer room where they held Jummah. The carpet was a curious set of lines that automatically oriented the one who would pray in the right direction. Along the tops of the walls was the lovely Arabic Script and Fahad said they were suras.

They showed me the door to where the women prayed because I said I wanted to pray. They did not know what a wreck my life was because, while I was with them, I was so happy to be accepted and a part of their lives. But I had been looking for God and looking for answers and not finding them anywhere. I felt like I had to pray while I was there. If God could not hear me anywhere else maybe God could hear me there?

I knelt on the floor facing the way the carpet lines directed and put the shawl over my body and started to pray. I did not know about looking right or left. I did not know to greet God first I did not know anything about Islam really except what was glossed over in Comparative Religions class or was a part of the history of the Mughal Empire. I prayed out the human wreck of my heart this way,

“God I have no idea what you want from me and no idea what to ask for so just be with me and let Justice happen and let all thing be for all people for the best good.”

That was all I knew to say and I stayed there for some unknown time, in the dark, crying because I had no more words. I was sad that there did not seem to be an answer but, resolved, I got up off the ground and wiped my face on my sleeve and, with the heavy knit shawl over my head went back out to meet them. They were talking in the foyer waiting for me. Faraz said,

“Did God answer you and do you feel better now?”

“I did not hear God answer but I do feel better now.”

“That is good. I feel better after I pray.” said Fahad.

I was to lose them all for 20 years and some of them I was to lose for my life time. The way they were I have never lost the memory. Whatever time has done to them and to me the memories of those days never leave me. But I was so happy to get two of them back 20 years later. You see I was sure it would be only in paradise before I saw them again.

Years later, in 2005, I became Muslim. I would be a liar if I said that my love for my old friends had nothing to do with it. Allah bless them them all for eternity.

(Dedicated to Pasha because he was dissapointed once)

Cammeow

Do you love meThe ‘DemandsCAMer’

The ‘CAMasterbator’

The ‘CAMorchestrator’

The ‘InvisibleCAMaudience’

The ‘Web-photoCAMsnapper’

These are the reasons I hate ‘CAMMING’.

The first guy meets you and in the first five minutes asks for marraige and CAM and says if you don’t give it to him you are a BAD person and YOU DON’T even KNOW the guy!

The second guy is all sweet and innocent and you are talking and he met you online without cam a few times and then asked politely and did not demand it and when you are all comfy he whips out a tiny tiny little ‘winky wacker’ and goes after it in your cyber face! (exhibitionist problems.)

The third guy is really 60 (or 16, or really a girl), and thinks you will not like him if you can see him so he is sweet nice kind and everything a guy should be and trades cams with you only you can never see him clearly for the lighting or the quality Webcam….BUT HE CAN SEE YOU!

The fourth guy is often related to the third guy and somtimes they get together and when you think you are talking to ONE guy you are really talking to twenty guys! (The way you catch one of those is to say something unexpectedly funny so that you can hear the snorting and poorly concealed laughter while the ‘orchestrator tells them to ‘chup’ in an angry tone and his mike suddenly will not work!)

The fifth guy is the cousin to the other too because he is the one who…while you cam with him….you see your little green light blink on and off while he takes a webcam snapshot of you. (this IS possible I have tried it myself to make sure on a friend who was willing to experiment with me on this subject.)

I hate cam because I am not a movie star and I never know who is using it to wack, mac, attack or jack me….They call girls liars and guys who say, “I don’t have a cam.”

I don’t OWE any human being my face….If I CHOOSE to show you be happy but if I don’t then be happy or go away.