Tag Archives: God

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.

The Match

12 Jan

blood-test

The difference between one brother and another can be as vast as if the two have never lived under the same roof. That was the case for Brad and Erick. Brad was a giver and a pleaser. Erick was a taker and a seeker of pleasure.

The contrast was stark as far back as when they were babies.  Erick was always ripping the toys out of the Brad´s hands which was completely unnecessary because Brad would have simply given the toy if Erick had shown in the most miniscule level of interest in it. Erick preferred violently taking the toy because he would not want to see Brad feel any of the pleasure in giving. Decades of adulthood passed without the two having any contact. This ate at Brad and the latter fact delighted Erick.

One night both brothers received a call. The call came from the same person and had the same information. Their father was dying and both were being requested to take a donor compatibility test.  Brad relished in the opportunity to be a hero. Erick loathed the idea of being so inconvenienced and shuttered at the thought of a needle tearing a hole in his skin and penetrating his vein.  Besides, the thought of his mother being widowed and alone slightly tickled him.

As Brad sat in a thumbing a magazine, waiting his turn to have blood drawn, a disheveled bearded face plodded though the waiting room. “It couldn´t be” Brad thought to himself.

The man plopped down beside him. “Hey shithead” he said.

Brad fought a tear that was burning his eye with will to run down his face.

“Erick! Hey brother! You look, um good!” Brad said.

“No I don´t. But neither do you so we are even” he snapped, fighting the urge to smile. He didn´t want Brad to even dream that he was happy to see him, though he was a little.

“So, how´d they convince you to come?” Brad asked.

“The girl I´m banging said she wouldn´t put out for a while if I didn´t at least take the goddamn test. Even if it comes back positive, she ain´t gonna know” he answered.  The woman he was referring to is his live in girlfriend of five years.

“In that case, I hope I´m a match” Brad chuckled.

“Me too!” Erick roared with inappropriate and slightly forced laughter, sprinkled with a smoker´s hack.

Both men left the clinic with a band aid covered cotton ball on their forearm.  For the next few days Brad waited by the phone with waves of anticipation washing over him. Erick stayed drunk and even forgot why there was a dirty band aid clinging to his arm.

Neither had received a call but Erick´s arm had grown purple and painful to the touch. Brad´s impatience grew to epic proportions. Brad even tried calling Erick even though he knew it was of no use. Even if the number was correct, Erick would probably not answer it anyway.

After a heated, yet typical drunken fight, Erick’s girlfriend walked out promising never to come back.  Went it got this far it meant she´d be gone for at least a week. Usually, Erick relished in these recesses and basked in his freedom, usually getting drunker or higher than usual. This time he wouldn´t. Not even vodka and vicodin could mask the pain in his now swollen, multi color arm.

After seeking for more than three days, Brad finally acquired Erick’s address.  He would not rest until he knew that either he or his brother could be a possible donor. When he arrived to the house he was taken aback. Brad´s living conditions were even worse than he expected. “How could someone live like this?” he thought to himself.

He knocked on the door. No answer. He thought he heard moans coming from inside and they sounded like Erick. He slightly pushed on the door. It was enough to open it. The door did not close properly, let alone have a lock. Erick was on the floor. His face was white and covered with sweat. One arm was raw and swollen, it looked as if it has been burned. It was the arm the blood sample had been taken from. The smell was overwhelming.

Brad said in horror “Let´s get you to the hospital. That arm don´t look so good.”

“It don´t feel no good either” Erick replied, “Ever since that goddamn test. Knew I shouldnt´ve  done it. That bitch tricked me” he was drunk and Brad could smell it over the stench.  “That asshole, son of a bitch of a father of ours is finally gonna get his way after all these years” he stammered.

“What do you mean?” Brad asked.

“Bury one of us! Especially me, the fuck up” Erick said, eyes rolling into the back of his head.

Brad convinced his brother to go to the hospital.  “You have an HAI Mr….”  the doctor trailed off. He couldn´t make out Erick´s last name.

“English, doc” Erick moaned.

“Hospital acquired infection, sir” the doctor replied. He continued ” It´s spread all through your body. Given your lifestyle it has already ravished your weakened system. Let me talk to your brother outside” he said with a forced smile and led Brad to the hall.

There he gave Brad the news that his brother would probably only live for another week. Brad took the news hard and asked if he could be the one to break it to his brother.  The doctor obliged. Erick took the news almost as a relief. There would finally be relief from the pain of his ailment and from the pain that was his life.

Erick was sent home with a smorgasbord of drugs to act as a bridge over pain from the current moment to his eminent death.  One day, high as a vulture with a good draft under its wing, he answered the phone.

“Is this residence of Erick….” the voice trailed off trying to make out the last name.

“Yeah, yeah, sure is” Erick answered.

“I have some good news and some bad news” the voice said.

“Hit me” Erick said.

“The good news is, you´re a match for your father” the voice informed.

“Go on, you said you had some bad news” Erick said with a smile.

“Yes, well, due to the infection I´m afraid we can´t use you and your brother is not a match” the voice said.

Erick sat there in silence with a smile from ear to ear.

“Sir….sir….” the voice on the phone called until there was an audible click.

“This is a great day to be alive” Erick said as he slipped a morphine strip on his tongue,  popped a rainbow of pills and washed them down with cheap vodka.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Brotherly Love

5 Jun

cain abel 2

Frank and Al were competitive brothers. In fact, they were so competitive with one another that one of them would probably not be here hadn´t it been for the intervention of their dear mother on various occasions. A strange twist to their rivalry was that they could never use the same strategy the other used to succeed. It was an unspoken rule, but followed to the letter.

In high school when Frank started to excel in football, on the offensive side of the ball, Al went on to become the best defensive player. When Al took up and had success in boxing, Frank became all state in wrestling. When Frank excelled in the exact sciences, Al became the best student in the school in the liberal arts.

Their paths converged when they became adults. Both found their way into the toy business and both became the best in the industry. Frank ran the most prestigious toy company making high end luxury toys. Al led a toy company with a name no one would recognize but just about every house in the US had at least three of his products. His toys were cheap and ubiquitous.

Frank looked at Al as a junk peddler who inundated the US market with cheap Chinese trinkets. Al looked at Frank as a fraud who overcharged dopey rich people out of their money for nothing more than mere status symbols worth a fraction of the price charged.

Secretly, both wanted a little of what the other had. Frank wanted to move a little more volume and Al wanted a little more prestige for his company. Neither had the humility to ask the other for advice.

At the same time, almost to the day, both came up with what they thought was a unique, genius idea. They would send corporate spies to the other´s company to pick up a tip or two. Within a few months, both got wind of what the other was doing.

What hurt each one the most was the thought that the other copied their idea. This was a betrayal of the highest level, even though it was not true. They did in fact come up with the idea individually.

Again, both had another strike of coincidental genius at the same exact moment. They were going to have the other killed. Frank wanted Al´s killing to look like a car accident and Al wanted Frank´s killing to look like a botched robbery. Both put their unstoppable plans in motion.

A few weeks later Al´s car was ran off a cliff. The car rolled for almost a quarter mile before stopping, only to go up in flames. Frank was shot in the forehead while he withdrew money from an ATM late in the night. Miraculously, both survived.

Due to a request from their mother, their motionless bodies laid next to one another in the intensive care unit .Although their bodies were without activity, their brains were not. There was only one single thought churning through both heads: “I´m going to recover so much better than that jerk over there”