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”

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On Meditation

14 Jul

meditation

I am going to keep this piece very informal. I usually write short fiction stories but this subject has been so important to me as of late, I thought I would write about it. If it reaches one person and helps them, I will be elated. The subject is meditation. I have been doing it consistently now for over four months. In no way am I an expert. I can only express what someone who has done something for a miniscule period of time can. In this piece, I hope to cover the Why, How, What Happened.

Why:

I can´t explain why but I have always been drawn to meditation or at least the sexy idea of meditation. Something about being able to meld your mind with the fabric of the universe was very titillating to me. Of course, as you will read, this may never actually happen but I can tell you in my short time practicing, I feel I have gotten close. Over the past two decades every few months or so I would tell myself I would make meditation a staple in my life. I would either read a book, pre internet, or listen to guided meditations, post internet. I would “meditate” here or there and not have a plan. I really didn´t know for meditation to give results, consistency is the key.

The last push to make a plan and stick with it was given by none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger. He was a guest on the Tim Ferris Podcast, a motivational show that gives life hacking tips and has effective people as guests. Arnold described a time in his life that I related too. A time where his thoughts were jumbled and his life felt hectic and out of control. He was having success in his ventures but he was having difficulty putting it all together and making sense of it all. He said that one thing and one thing only put him on track and kept him there. Transcendental Meditation. He used TM for exactly one year and stopped. It was enough to right the ship and sail into one of the most successful careers the world has ever seen. Although my practice is not TM per se, I read extensively about it and have adopted some of its principles.

How:

Let´s get to it. The how. What do I do? Just sit there? Summon spirits and demons from other realms. Yes and no. Well, maybe to the second question. I shall explain. What I do is sit down for a period of time, usually 10-15 minutes, the most 20 minutes but that is rare. I do this two times a day, once as soon as I wake and another close to bed time. When I started I used a mantra that I got from the internet. Mine was “Enga”. I have no idea what it means, I just like the way it sounds and vibrates. The mantra is simply an anchor. When you meditate, you do not think about anything. That is the point. To think about nothing. This is where the mantra enters. You focus on the mantra. I mentalized the mantra on out breaths. I breath in, and as I breath out I would think the mantra and feel it vibrate in my head. When your mind wanders and it will, your bring your attention back to the mantra.

I have since started simply focusing on my breath and have similar results. Start thinking about your childhood? Breathe. Bring your attention back to your breath. Start thinking about that bill that is late? Breathe. Bring your attention back to your breath. That´s it. You don´t pontificate the nature of reality, the reason for your existence or anything. It´s just focused attention for a few moments per day. How is this beneficial? Shouldn´t I come in contact with the spirit world or have a chat with God? I will try to scratch the surface of that later. I am afraid I cannot even put into words the benefits, but I will try.

I know a lot of people get hung up on sitting posture. There is no need to. Just make sure you are comfortable but not so comfortable that you go to sleep. Some people can meditate laying down. I cannot. I will go to sleep. I use a “meditation chair”. It looks like the letter “L” with a pad for the butt. I will admit, I made the investment almost to guarantee that I would stick with meditation for a period of time. I used my cheapness to my advantage. I knew if I spent that money, I would force myself to do it. This worked but by no means do you need fancy pillows or chairs. Before the chair arrived in the mail, I was sitting on a folded blanket and propped my back up on a wall. I had great results.

I have done some experimenting as well. I have used guided meditations with great results. I like the ones called “body scans”. The narrator will have you focus on the different parts of your body and relaxing them. I´ve had some sessions that left me extremely relaxed. There is an app on my phone that I use called Insight Timer. It is a free app. It works as a timer, as the name implies, but there is a wonderful array of guided meditations to follow. Another advantage is that it keeps stats. I love stats, you may or may not. If you don´t, I am pretty sure you can turn this feature off. Even if you cannot, just ignore them!

Another thing I experiment with is binaural beats. I won´t go into what these exactly are. That would be well beyond my pay grade. The Wiki page explains them perfectly. Pretty much, they produce a sound that affects the way you brain functions. Again, Google my friend. I feel I have had pretty good results from these as well. Different frequencies will produce different results such as, relaxation, contemplation, creativity, euphoria, just to name a few. Again, do your research but I recommend them.

What Happened:

So now that you see how easy it is, let´s talk a little about what happens. Of course, results will vary, ask your doctor…oh, wait. The scientific community is pretty much in unison that meditation is beneficial. A simple Google search will give more information on this than you could read in a few incarnations.

First thing I need to express because I saw other people had the same reaction. For the first few days, I actually felt more irritable than usual. I just felt like I was in a really bad mood. Again, this was only for the first few days. It passed and has never happened again.

During the first few weeks, I had some absolutely sublime revelations. They are personal and not Earth shattering so I feel no need to share them here. These have subsided though. They would happen the moment I brought my attention back after it had wandered off. I would label the thought “Past”, “Desire”, “Utility”, etc. and as I realized my mind was wandering and I brought it back either to the mantra or my breath, BAM, I was hit with a deep thought that would resonate with me for days.

Overall I feel more calm in control. I have become a better father to my three year old daughter. How, you ask? Because I don´t lose my temper. Here is one of those places I fear my words will fail me, but I will try to explain. I feel like I understand her more and therefore an action that would anger me in the past does not because I see it for what it is. Maybe she is just exploring her world. That´s why she knocked over the cup of juice, on purpose. Maybe she is just exploring limits, that´s why she continues to bang on the plate after I had asked three times to stop. Also, again, it is hard to explain, I just feel overall more patient. If I miss more than one day of meditation, this is very rare, I feel a little anxiety and a little out of control. This may or may not be some kind of placebo effect but as soon as I get a session in, all feels normal again.

Another thing that I have not really read anywhere else but I have experienced is increased memory. When I read books and watched movies or television series in the past, I would pretty much forget everything, pre meditation days. I have read East of Eden three times and every time felt like the first time. I watched all of Breaking Bad. I loved it. Ask me something about it. I cannot answer it. Now I seem to be able to recall plot points and other details better after viewing something. I think it may be a function of training the mind to be more present and training focus.

I am very early on in this journey. I may write a follow up to this piece a few months from now. I may be able to articulate myself even better or maybe not. I hope if you take anything away from reading this it is, meditation is simple, you can do it, there are many benefits and consistency is key. In fact, it is probably the most important factor. It´s not how you sit, what you mantra is, if you are burning fancy incense. The most important thing is that you are doing it and doing it consistently. At least once daily, preferably twice.

If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments section. I will do my best to answer them. You can also e-mail me. There is a Contact page with my information. I feel that mediation is so important that it should be taught early and often. Kids should be taught meditation, now more than ever. With so many things fighting a war for attention, the loser is attention. It gets so spread thin it is rendered almost useless. Meditation is a way to own your attention and bring it back to health.

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.

Investing or Gambling?

7 Jul

dice

The stock market is great if you like to gamble, but dislike instant gratification. When you roll the dice, you know the outcome instantly. Either your number hit or it didn´t. With stocks, it is a little trickier. You can roll the proverbial dice, purchase some stocks or derivatives and have to wait years before you know if your number hit or not. And sometimes you can lose just because you could not wait the amount of time necessary to see your bet pay off, forcing you to cash in. But when you get down to the basic idea of stocks and games of chance or gambling on sports, there is little difference.

Even with all the information in the world, you do not know what tomorrow brings. You don´t know what new innovation will come making current technologies obsolete. You don´t know what is going on behind closed doors that could bring a company to its knees. You don´t know if the information provided to investors is in fact factual. On the other hand, nothing stops a gambler from delving into the stats and information of a sports team. One can make a pretty educated guess as to which team or fighter is going to come up victorious. With that said, no one can predict the future making both ventures very similar.

Some will use the term invest or investment instead of bet, which serves as both noun and verb. This may be a little verbal snobbery but it does not take away the fact you are putting money down now in hopes that it turns into more in the future.

Work Makes Free

5 Jul

Work Makes Free

Rudy needed to be shaken out of his destructive patterns. His partying, which started out as fun on the weekends, had started to seep into the work week. His mind started to see Wednesday, the middle of the week, as a bridge to the next weekend. Then Tuesday became a bridge to Wednesday, Thursday a bridge to Friday night, until Rudy realized he was not partying anymore but strait up abusing drugs.

Rudy was honest with himself. He knew what he was doing was wrong but he could not stop himself. He would wake up saying to himself that this was going to be a clean day. Cut to moments after work, he found himself in the gas station in check out with two tall boys in hand asking for a pack of cigarettes. On his way home, the two beers would give him the courage to say no to saying no and he found himself at his pickup spot and yet another night was forgotten and another morning was difficult to face.

Rudy decided to call his uncle, who lived on a farm an hour outside of the city, and asked him if he could crash there for a while. His uncle understood why without Rudy even having to say so. Rudy´s uncle was a wise man so he made Rudy tell him regardless. He wanted Rudy to admit it to another human, out loud, knowing this would help Rudy manifest the necessary changes.

Rudy was fortunate to not have physical withdrawal. He was using for such little time that his body never adapted to the point it needed it. In fact, Rudy didn´t even miss getting high. Being on this other path made Rudy´s brain forget the need for escape. The only hard part for Rudy was waking up so early. Breakfast was at five in the morning and they were at work by five thirty.

After a week, even the early wakeup call became easy. Rudy´s uncle was getting used to the help. It was a big farm and good help was hard to find. When he did find it, it did not last long as the workers were generally migrant and did not stay put in one place for too long. Rudy felt great. He believed his system pretty much reset to zero. Rudy felt he could go back and face the world.

His uncle asked him to stay for at least another week. He explained to really make these changes concrete, Rudy would need a little more time. Rudy felt confident. He wasn´t even thinking about getting high. With a lot of reprehension in his heart and an open invitation to return, Rudy´s uncle said his farewells. There were even a few tears shed by both men during the farewell.

As Rudy pulled into his apartment complex parking spot he felt and acute, heavy darkness. He looked around at all the fairly new, financed to the gills, fancy cars, the dilapidated low rent buildings and felt a little confused and a little disgusted. This is life, he asked himself? Live in a particle board box, go to an unfulfilling job just to drive a car that is barely affordable on a month to month basis. Rudy didn´t have the tools to stop such negative thinking. He climbed the rickety stairs to his one bedroom apartment.

He opened the door and a waft of familiar smells greeted him. Stale cigarettes, a glade air freshener and musk attacked his senses. He hadn´t had the foresight to clean his apartment before his farm retreat. In the ashtray were two half smoked cigarettes. One was a standard tobacco cigarette and the other a hand rolled marijuana cigarette. His first impulse was to throw them away. But something told him not to. That something told him that he paid money for those things and one does not throw money away. If he wasn´t going to consume them, at least a friend could, he thought. Of course he was kidding himself because he had no friends.

He put the ash tray under the sink and turned the TV on. At the farm, he would have already been sleeping by now. After flipping through the channels he realized how bad TV was. He hadn´t noticed before because he was high. Even commercials seemed to reveal  deep secrets of the universe while high. He told himself he should go to bed but again, something convinced him he was not even tired. That something told him to light the marijuana cigarette. It would at least make this unbearable television more palatable.

He gave in and smoked the joint down until it burned his fingers. Then he lit the cigarette and waited for that familiar feeling. As the cigarette burned down to the filter he realized he felt no different. There was no altered feeling, no euphoria, no giddiness. Nothing. The feeling of nothing actually made him feel worse. Why did he break his drug fast if he weren´t going to feel high? Since he had already started the engine, he was going to have to at least “go deep” as he liked to call getting high.

He got in his car and drove to the pickup spot. He got his usual little plastic baggies and barely drove away before pulling over and consuming the contents. He was desperate. He could not get the drugs into him fast enough. He used more than the normal dose and immediately nodded off. As he rolled in and out of consciousness thoughts of the farm passed through his head. As he did chores in his mind his physical body, planted in the front seat of his car, went through some of the motions.

He would come to, see where he was, cry a little and nod off again. This went on for a few hours when his dealer knocked on the window. He rather impolitely told him to take his party elsewhere. Rudy obliged. He was so out of it in his mind he was starting the tractor and not his car. He told his dealer that lunch time was over and that he´d get back to work. The dealer, perplexed, told him to go wherever he wanted, just to get out of there.

Rudy made his way towards his apartment but missed the exit. He kept driving. He came to and found himself on the highway. When he was not driving slowly on the highway, he was cleaning pig troughs or spreading fresh straw. He drove until he found himself back at his uncle´s farm. He opened the car door, stumbled a few steps, fell down on his face and passed out.

In the morning, Rudy´s uncle walked outside and on his way to the barn saw Rudy´s car. A smile came to his face. As he walked to the car his smiled vanished in an instant when he saw his nephew face down in thick mud. He ran to the boy´s body. He tried to wake him. There was no pulse. He was not breathing. He cried for help despite the fact he was the only soul for miles.

Rudy´s uncle called an ambulance. Rudy was pronounced dead on the spot. Only an autopsy would reveal if it was the drugs that killed him or if he was asphyxiated in the mud. Rudy´s uncle could not shake the chills from the irony if it were the latter. The farm offered salvation to Rudy but in the end might have been his demise.

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.