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Sniffing Out A Friend

17 Jan

dog-print

With his nose inches from the ground, Reilly followed the tracks of his best friend Shadow in the semi-soft mud. Even though he knew his nose wasn´t what it used to, he was sure he would find his friend. This isn´t the first time Shadow disappeared, plus it had rained two days ago making easier work of the tracking.

First, Reilly checked all of Shadow´s normal hiding places. He wasn´t in any of them. Shadow had a proclivity for going on mulberry benders. He innocently called it “gone berrying” but in reality it involved him going into the woods and eating fermented mulberries until he had no idea whose tail he was chasing. He would then return a few days later dirty, hungry and a little ashamed.

Next, Reilly checked a few places Shadowed has wandered off to after having had lost one of the normal paths. Shadows nose didn´t work very well. It had almost been bitten off cleanly by a badger and his internal compass was, at best, crooked. Reilly was at a loss. Where could his friend be?

Reilly figured his friend was not in the woods. Although he was truly concerned, he reckoned “Shadow does vanish often, but always manages to find his way home.” Besides, it was the time of year the bitches were in heat. Reilly couldn´t just let that pass by. He decided to call off the search and take a cruise through town.

After wandering around his favorite back alleys, abandoned lots and unfrequented parks and becoming increasingly frustrated that they were all crawling with more brutes than bitches, he decided to give this search up as well and go home. Along the way he heard the familiars yelps of new born pups. They were coming from under a half rotted porch of a house that years ago hosted a family of much more means than today. He decided to scratch his curiosity and give his blessing to the new parents.

When he popped his nose inside he was flabbergasted by the smell. “You dog you!” he cried as his tail went wild.

“I was gonna tell you but it all went down so quick” Shadow said with a bent smile.  The badger hadn´t only gotten his nose that fateful day. He paused as if he said something important to say and wanted the words to come out just right, “I want you to be the god-doggy” he blurted, his eyes visibly glassy from tears being fought back.

Reilly was taken aback. “I´m just glad you´re alive” he paused “and sure I will! It´ll be the biggest honor of this dog´s decade and change on this here planet” he said, not able to keep the tears lodged in his eyes anymore.

That was the last time anybody ever had to search for Shadow. They always knew where to find him, dutifully taking care of his pups and recounting his adventures in the woods.

Home Is For The Birds

28 Jul

birds

Pilot and Skye had a beautiful home, high up in the trunk of a dead tree. A wood pecker hollowed out an already rotting part in search of a meal. He found what he was looking for and abandoned the site when the food ran out. It was  a perfect home for a young couple of swallows.

One day Pilot went out to look for some food. He gave Skye a kiss on the beak and went his way. He flew almost a full mile until he found a promising location. He looked around for a perch to assess the area. He saw a branch with a wide angle view of the ground below.

Already on the branch was a beautiful female swallow.  Pilot thought he should maybe find another branch but she waved him over with a wink.

“Hello” she said.

“Hello” Pilot said.

“Name´s Libi” she said.

“I´m Pilot” he said, blushing.

“That´s a strong name. Are you a strong bird?” Libi asked.

“Well, not really, I guess I can be” he answered. Libi stayed quite. She knew that silence can drive a male mad.

Pilot´s mind raced, searching for something to say, to break the deafening silence. All he could come up was, “Do you live close?”

“Close to what?” Libi giggled. Pilot blushed again. Libi leaned over and kissed him on the beak. An explosion of emotions rushed over Pilot. The thought that rose to the top was “What am I doing?”

Swallows are hard wired for monogamy. They take a mate for life. This went against thousands of years of evolution.

Pilot pulled away. “I cannot do this! I already have a female”

Libi said with a devilish look, “You do and you don´t now”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, the moment you return home, your “ex” will smell my pheromones on you, so you don´t. But, you have me now” she said.

Pilot wanted to protest but he couldn´t. She was right. Dejected, Pilot asked “Where do you live?”

“I don´t have a home, dear” she answered. “You have to make one for us”

“Oh great…” Pilot thought.

Over the course of a week Pilot made a home just as good as the one he left.  Two days after, Libi kicked him out.

“I thought we were going to be together forever” Pilot said.

“That´s so old fashioned. That instinct must have passed over me” Libi said.

“What am I going to do?” Pilot cried.

“I don´t know. Do the same as the others. Go crawling back to your old home” Libi said.

“Others?” Pilot asked.

“Yeah, the others that I tricked into building me a house. I´m just going to flip it for some quick cash” Libi said.

Pilot wanted revenge but realized this would just get more of her pheromones on him. In fact, he was so busy working, he hadn´t had contact with Libi for days. He flew off to see if he could get his life back.

Good Bye!

21 Jul

Good Bye

As Helen lay motionless in her hospital bed, Walter sat by her side with her slender lifeless hand in his. This scene has repeated itself for the better part of the last year. Helen had a slip in the shower and has been in a coma ever since. Walter holds out hope that she will wake up but deep down he knows the chances are slim. Walter hadn´t told Helen he loved her before the accident for such a long time that he cannot even recall the last time. This regret grinds in his heart.

Sitting in a silent hospital room with the woman he has shared the vast majority of his life has been somewhat of a medidative experience. Memories have come up that he hasn´t thought about since the event occurred. The actual occurances may be slightly curved by the glass of time but to him they happened exactly as he remembered them.

He remembers before shipping off to Europe, the nights they spent trying to be in each other’s company for each moment possible. They would go to the dankest bars as they were the only establishments open into the late hours. Neither drank a drop of alcohol. They just sat in a corner, hands stacked on top of one another regaling each other with stories of the few years they had been on the planet. Now that they have lived many more years and have many more stories to tell, he would give anything to be able to sit in the corner of a dark smokey bar and relive them with Helen.

Like clockwork the nurse comes in to change Helen´s bed clothes. Walter can´t help but feel the pity emanating from her. They have their usual small talk. Then Walter, very uncharacteristically, goes into the story of their wedding day. Although the nurse had a lot of work to do, she was enthralled by Walter´s recollection of this grand, beautiful day. Twenty minutes later, Walter realizes that he was holding her up, apologizes and sends her on her way. The nurse assured him he need not apologize and tried to hide the fact that tears were falling down her cheeks.

The next day, the same thing happened. The nurse came in for her usual checkups and tidying, small talk was exchanged and Walter regaled her with the story of when he returned from the war and how he and Helen celebrated being in each other´s company after such a long, arduous time apart. Once again, the nurse unsuccessfully tried to mask her tears and went ahead with her rounds.

This repeated itself for the good part of a month. The nurse would come in to do her job and it got to the point she would expect a story. She even kept extra tissues in her waist pockets. Walter started to look forward to the nurse´s visits.

One day, Walter checked his watch. It was around a half hour until the scheduled nurse visit. As he sat in his medidative state, reliving years gone by, Helen´s head turned towards him. Walter almost fell out of his chair. This was the first movement of Helen, by Helen since the accident. The slightest smile came to her face. Her cloudy eyes cleared for a moment and they pierced those of Walter. She stared mouthing something inaudibly. Walter put his ear to her mouth to hear what she was saying. There was no sound.

Walter knew this was his last chance. He looked into her clear, blue eyes and said “Helen, you are my everything. You gave me three great sons. You made a beautiful home for us. Without you, I don´t know how I could have had a happier life” he saw her eyes clouding again, he continued though the words were breaking up in his throat “Helen, I love you. I always loved you. I will always love you. I´m so sorry I didn´t tell you more often. I´m so…..” The machine Helen was hooked up to let out a piercing beep.

Walter could barely make her out through the tears; the nurse who he told his stories to ran in. “Walter, please go into the hall” she said, sternly but with care and love in her voice.

“But….” Walter resisted.

“Please” she answered. Walter acquiesced.

As he stood in the hall, his legs were so weak he could not stand. Not even after the biggest atrocities he saw in Europe did he cry with such force. Between sobs, he cried to the heavens how much he loved Helen in hopes that her spirit would hear him.

The nurse came into the hall and gave Walter the bad news. Helen was gone. All Walter could think was that he was soon to follow. He felt some relief in knowing that Helen left him knowing how much he loved her.

Pig Deal!

17 Jul

pigs

Sammy and Frankie were at the slop trough. Frankie could tell Sammy was upset. He usually had his snout deep in the slop. Sammy was barely pecking away at the day´s offerings.

“What´s wrong Sammy?” Frankie asked.

“Phil wants to fight before sundown” Sammy said.

“What happened?” Frankie asked.

“Nothing really. Sara, his girlfriend, just got done rolling in the mud and she looked good. I mean real fine. But I wasn´t disrespectful or nothing” Sammy said.

“What´d you say Sammy?” Frankie said with a worried look on his face. “You know how Phil is!”

“I just said ‘looking good, Sara’, that´s all, I swear” Sammy said.

“Man, you know not to do that. Phil is a hot head. He´s gonna kick your ass you know?” Frankie said.

“Yeah, I know. But I didn’t mean nothing by it. She just looked so fine. I felt like she pulled those words out of my mouth” Sammy said.

There was a sudden stir in the pen. Farmer John entered the pen with a rope. He was walking funny as he tends to do when he´s been drinking. He forgot to close the gate behind him. He went right for Phil who was sunning himself on the far end of the pen. He must not have heard the commotion because he didn´t move.

As Farmer John got closer Phil figured out what was going on. Before he knew it the rope was around his neck and immediately cinched tight. He recoiled in horror. Farmer John was drunk but the whiskey only diluted his judgment, not his strength.

“Should we help him Sammy?” Frankie said.

“Well, I´ll get out of an ass kicking if Farmer John takes him away” Sammy pondered.

“That´s not right. We always help each other when we can. Look, the gates open. It´s only him. His helpers ain´t around. We can all make it” Frankie said.

“Ok” Sammy agreed.

Frankie and Sammy trotted up to the back side of Farmer John. Phil felt some relief. For a moment he felt he could be saved.

“Go” said Frankie and with that the two pigs took as big of bites as they possibly could out of the back of Farmer John´s thighs. Farmer John screamed in agony and fell to the mud.

“Run” Sammy said to the stunned Phil. “The gate. It´s open! Run to the gate”

The three pigs ran for the gate and the others followed suit. Phil checked to see if Sara was in tow. She was. He caught a glimpse of Sammie doing the same.

As they made their way to the tree line Sammy turned to Phil and asked “Are we cool?”

Phil looked at him and said “I´m still gonna kick your ass. But we cool”

Till Death Do Us Part

9 Jul

Death

Dan and Carol were together for many years. They fought a lot. Carol thought that Dan´s lack of ambition made him a loser and was vocal about this. Dan thought Carol was cold and incapable of loving anyone. Their fights were never over anything of substance. They just didn´t like the way the other talked. It was a very volatile relationship. One or the other giving an opinion on a current even could lead to a knock down drag out fight resulting in them not talking to one another for a week.
They finally came to a point where they had enough. The both agreed to go their seperate ways. They were able to remain friends for the most part, as long as their contact was short and far between. Dan felt a responsibility to Carol. He didn´t´feel she was truly capable of taking care of herself.
About one year after the break up Dan got a call from Carol. She was hysterical.
“Hello?” Dan answered confused. He knew it was her but was perplexed by the volley of sobs be thrown over the phone.
“I just got back from the doctor” she said.
Dan knew this was not going to be a pleasant call. Carol was a strong person. She rarely cried so he knew this was serious. “Do you want to talk?”
“Of course I do, stupid. That´s why I called” she said.
Dan was about to attack but pulled back. He realized she must be very upset about something. “Ok, then tell me”
“I have cancer. Very agressive cancer. I have to start chemotherapy immediately. The doctor thinks that will only buy me….” she trailed off.
“Oh my god that´s….” he was cut off.
“Months. The chemo will only buy me a few months. I´m going to die” Carol said.
There was silence. Dan had no idea what to say to this. “Can I see you?” he asked.
“Sure. Let´s have dinner tonight” she answered, her sobs coming under control.
That night they met at their favorite restaurant. Carol gave Dan more details about the doctor visit. Carol decided that she was going to forget about the diagnosis, just for the night. She was going to throw caution to the wind. She ordered a bottle of wine. Then another, then another. Although Dan was not comfortable with that but he understood and after the first bottle his level of comfort grew.
They paid the bill and made their ways to their respective cars. In the parking lot Carol turned to Dan and said “Come home with me. I cannot be alone tonight” Dan obliged. He got in his car and followed her home.
They made love that night for the first time in over a year. It was like the first time only better. Carol asked Dan to move in with her. She would need him as the chemo sapped her strength. Dan was weary about this. In the back of his head, even though he was ashamed to admit it, he knew she would not be here too much longer so there was a way out. He did still love her after all and she needed his help so he agreed.
The fighting started almost immediately. Carol complained about the things Dan brought from his apartment. Daily she would remind him how much of a pig she thought he was, she insulted the food he prepared for her and would frequently threaten to kick him out if he didn´t stop fighting with her.
Dan pushed through it. He knew she needed him. He knew of her limitations and again, he knew this was not permanent. Three months in, Carol´s health deterioted rapidly. She lost so much weight that Dan was afraid of breaking her when he put her in bed. She asked him to marry her because she did not want to die single. Dan agreed. They had a minister come to the house to perform the ceremony. It was official, they were married.
Around the sixth month a remarkable thing happened. Carol started to gain weight. Her skin started to look healthy and resumed its normal color. The life was coming back into her eyes. With this new life came more ire thrown Dan´s way.
Each month Carol´s health improved. Her blood exams were confirming what the eye could see. She was getting better. At the one year mark, the doctor told her she could stop chemo. The cancer was completely contained and could possibly go into remission.
Dan thought that with this rebirth maybe Carol would change. He was now contractually obligated to be with her, after all. He was horrified of the thought of giving Carol half of his considerable assets after having nursed her back to health over the past year. He would have to make this work.
A few tortuous months passed. To Dan they felt like an eternity. How did he ever get himself into this situation? He asked himself this every day. One day Carol came home with a grave expression on her face. She told Dan they needed to talk. She informed him that she was seeing another man. It was serious. She was going to divorce him, leave him the apartment and not ask for a dime from him. Everybody involved lived happily ever after.

Game Over!

8 Jul

footvolley

Foot volley, which is a mixture of soccer and volley ball is a way of life in Guarã, a small city in a remote part of the Amazon valley in Brazil. Players use their legs, feet and head to get the ball over a net. It sounds like a fun way to pass the time and it can be, just not in Guarã. There, winning a game can mean you get to live another day or will be burned alive bound by old car tires and doused in gasoline. It harks back to the worst days of the Roman empire but instead of Caesars presiding over the tournaments, there are drug dealers deciding the fates of athletes.

If parents see that their child is particularly good at foot volley, they sometimes will sell all their possessions to ensure their child has a bus ticket, one way, out of Guarã. The child will sometimes grow up in the company of relatives without their parents because the parents are too poor to make the bus fare to get themselves out. In some cases, parents end up dead for sending away a good prospect.

José had no parents to care for him or to sell possessions to get him out of Guarã. José lived on the street in a pack of about 10 boys. He was the best of around 4 really good players. When they weren´t playing foot volley, training foot volley or trying to get something to eat from the trash, the pack was usually either sniffing glue or trying to get their hands on it. Not José. Some time ago, José found some text books in the trash while looking for dinner. José was taught to read by the church and he was grateful and did not want their gift to go in vain.

José had won so much that he had built himself quite the name in Guarã. He was like a local celebrity. He was forced to go to the big outdoor “funk parties” as they were called, thrown by the local drug dealers. He was paraded around like a mascot. He despised them all. He despised the drug dealers who he saw as poisoning the community. He despised the party goers and useless people lowered even further in his eyes for idolizing such horrid people. He despised the cops who were easily bribed by the drug bosses and would abuse street children in every sense of the word for their own pleasure.

One night José lay in his concrete bed, in reality a sewer tunnel opening, trying to get the images out of his head of what he saw that day. He had won a major day long tournament closed with not only the murder of every loser but their depraved torture as well. José had seen a lot up to this point but this was worse than anything he had seen. His mind went back and forth from the torture to the faces of the spectators who watched in ecstasy and cheered on the torturers. He was forced to watch from a rickety homemade throne that was spray painted gold and had worn purple pillows fixed to it to make it look like a real king´s chair.

As he laid there, tears rolling down his eyes, he smelled smoke. It was not the usual smell of bonfires which were frequent during the nights after a tournament. It had a more chemical smell. He went out from his makeshift bedroom and climbed an electrical tower. A few thatched roofed houses were on fire. There was little to no response, probably because of the level of intoxication of the people. For the most part of the population, they were passed out drunk.

José thought quick. He knew how he could help. Help himself, help his city, help his country, help the world. He made his way to the police precinct which looked no different than the front office of a land fill. He went to the patio where the few broken down vehicles were parked. He grabbed two 20 liter canisters and went running. As he approached the burning huts he poured some of the liquid from the canisters into discarded water bottles and aluminum cans. He then proceeded to throw them near the flames.

Where the bottle and cans hit, great little explosions took place and the flames quickly spread. He was throwing containers of gasoline into the flames! He then moved on to huts that were not on fire and started to throw flaming soda cans onto the roofs. When they were sufficiently ablaze he went to the only houses in the village, slipshod building decorated by what looked like by psychopathic children, and started to fling his mini Molotov cocktails over the walls. In no time they were on fire as well.

José, satisfied with his work, started for the outskirts of the village. It was getting hot as the fire was spreading rapidly. He was surprised by the lack of commotion on the street. Surely some people were not so drunk as to burn to death without waking. He didn´t care either way. He made his way to the outskirts of the village, climbed a little foot hill and watch the fire do its cleansing.

The Connection

18 Jun

Remote-desktop-connection

Beverly´s only real skill in life was being attractive to the opposite sex. She honed this skill the way a fighter hones various angles of his game, only with less hard work, dedication and honor involved in the process. She was constantly changing looks. Beverly didn´t really like men. She was not a lesbian, but she was in not sexually attracted to men. In fact, she really didn´t like much of anything about them. There was one thing she like in a man, money.

Beverly´s lack of attraction didn´t matter because she could fake it like an academy award winning actress. She could make a man feel like he was the only man she had ever truly loved. Many men to this day think of her as the women who fell the hardest for them.

In her younger days, Beverly would just drift from city to city spending a few months here, a few years there. She always found her way into the most posh apartments, finest restaurants and rubbing elbows in the highest social circles wherever she was. But now her years were catching up to her.

It was not that her looks were diminishing. She seemed to become more beautiful with age. It was that moving so often was getting tiresome and lonely. She wanted to stop. She wanted to live in familiarity for once. New was becoming boring.

She created a profile on a website specifically for women looking for men with money. She went to the trouble to buy a few expensive outfits and had professional pictures taken. She threw the bait out. Now she waited to land her whale.

Among the many messages she received over the first week. One caught her eye in particular. His name was Henry. His profile stated he was an entrepreneur, a very wealthy one at that. Beverly was not destitute by any means. She was smart over the years creating various accounts, depositing gifts from her suitors.

Beverly exchanged many messages with Henry and became very interested. He might be able to provide the soft landing she was looking for. And strangely, she felt that she might like him.

After a few weeks of back and forth they decided to meet. They decided to do it in a big way. They were to rendezvous in Cancun for an extended weekend. Henry had given Beverly a long story of how he had some funds frozen due to litigation in Europe and he asked her to spot him. He would pay her back as soon as the matter cleared. Beverly obliged. It was a mere investment in her eyes.

They spent the most fabulous weekend imaginable. Beverly was more sure than ever that she was on the right path. Henry, besides demonstrating great wealth, was handsome and fun to be around. His legal woes in Europe had increased and now a Chinese court was looking into a business of his. Beverly did not think twice about helping him out. Help him out now, help me out in the future, she thought.

After a few more sob stories and a few more wire transfers, Beverly´s funds started to get alarmingly low. When Henry asked for help again, Beverly had to deny. She hadn´t the funds he required. Soon after, Henry disappeared. He no longer answered e-mails. His cell phone was disconnected. Beverly was devastated.

She took what little funds she had and hired a private investigator to track Henry down. After a few weeks, the investigator found all he needed and closed the case. He brought his findings to Beverly. Henry, or Roberto, his birth name, had a criminal record thicker than Beverly´s passport from all the extra pages she needed. All of his crimes were of the white collar ilk. He had never done time. He was good. Apparently, better than Beverly.