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Sunday, March 28, 2010

HANOI JANE

Believe me there weren't many pieces of good advice my father ever gave me, but one thing I remember as a teenager was, "If you expect to get any action, don't go out with a group of your buddy's, go out by yourself."
Another thing was when I was eight, or nine and we lived in that house in Merced, California. My brother and I were only two years apart, he was younger and when we weren't fighting with one another it seems we were always getting into fights with our best friends, boys and girls alike.
Other parents would come up to our door knocking, and yelling, threatening, and making total horses asses of themselves over real or imagined slights against their children. My mother would get into it with other parents once in a while, she used to love a good fight, but my father never said much of anything. I once asked him why other parents took up for their kids, but he never took up for us? He said, "Because you kids will be over it by tomorrow, playing together and will be best friends again, the parents will still be mad at each other."
Once in 1970 when I asked him to drive a group of my fifteen year old friends to a place just outside the gates of Fort. Bragg, North Carolina to protest her for protesting the Viet Nam war he refused. At the time I was only fifteen, so I had to rely on my dad to drive my friends and me over there. And par for the course as any normal fifteen year old I accused him of being lazy. It was 1970 and he had a red 1969 Mustang and my mother had a green 1969 Mercury Monterey it was huge car that could have taken all of us. When I asked him why? He said something I'll never forget. "Son I may not agree with what that woman has to say, but I fought in two wars for her right to say it." I've always admired him for that.

As time has gone by, he turned 79 last January, he has said something he never would have said when he was in the Army. That America should not have been in Viet Nam. It was a "Conflict" that we withdrew from and didn't win.
He cried when he visited the Viet Nam Memorial, for all the men who lost their lives and he believes to this day that if JFK hadn't been killed America wouldn't have been so involved in a war we couldn't win. JFK was the reason he wanted to get into the Special Forces, he did it in 1965 at the age of thirty five something that is impossible today.

I worry that Iraq is the same thing. Thank God we haven't lost fifty eight thousand young people and I pray that it never comes to that. I also see the young men and women in uniform and I have the utmost respect for them and I pray for their safe return. I only hope this war isn't as pointless as Viet Nam and that one day we will look back on this as something necessary. Iraq and Saddam Hussein didn't destroy the Twin Towers. My heart goes out to the young people and all people who've died in this war.
Please God save them a special place in Heaven. And that they all return to their loved ones safe and sound.
As Christians, or any other religions I believe forgiveness is essential to life here after and as hard as it is sometimes we must forgive to be forgiven. And believe you me that's a hard pill for me to swallow I've got a lot of forgiving to do.

So if forgiving Jane Fonda is a small step let's remember she's human like the rest of us and sometimes we need people to forgive us for the stupid, thoughtless things we do. The Bible says all we have to do is ask for forgiveness and we shall be forgiven that isn't verbatim. God doesn't speak to me directly, but let's start by trying to forgive others and as hard as it is to do. Didn't she apologize? Sometimes you do stupid things and later realize you were wrong. I hated her at the time myself she appeared two doors down from the Carolina Theater where I worked when I was seventeen and I wouldn't go over there to see her then, but now I'd love to meet her.

“I would like to say something, not just to Vietnam veterans in New England, but to men who were in Vietnam, who I hurt, or whose pain I caused to deepen because of things that I said or did," Fonda said.
"I was trying to help end the killing and the war, but there were times when I was thoughtless and careless about it and I'm . . . very sorry that I hurt them. And I want to apologize to them and their families."
Jane Fonda

A miserable piece of human garbage, deranged man, spit tobacco in a ladies face! What a pig, how disgusting!
Only in this crazy O.J Simpson, Scott Peterson, kind of world we live in today that decent people wouldn't be shocked and appalled that a man in 2005 could do something that disgusting to a woman.
Tell me? What did you people think about the man who threw a pie in Anita Bryant's face in 1977 when she openly expressed her hatred of gays? Do you think he's a hero too? She was expressing her freedom of speech, however misguided it was, just because she decided she wanted to rid the world of homosexuals? Was what she did OK? Acceptable? No, it wasn't then and it isn't now, but
gentlemen don’t treat ladies like that.

I just finished watching the last 30 minutes of the interview between Tim Russard and Jane Fonda. I must tell you that even though I've taken up for her in recent years because of things I've read in print nothing I've read has ever made me believe from the bottom of my heart that she was really sorry for what she did during the Viet Nam War.
Seeing and hearing her tonight made a true believer out of me. She didn't back down from any questions, or make excuses for her self and admitted when she'd done something entirely stupid and wrong, including posing on the anti-aircraft guns. This woman has come clean to her wrong doings and apologized for what she did point blank without any excuses or beating around the bush. She has said that what she did was wrong, but it may have brought an end of the War in Viet Nam sooner and saved lives.
There's something about hearing her explanations coming from her own mouth and not the press that actually make me truly believe what she has to say with one hundred percent sincerity. She's not a young “Barbarella” bombshell any more, but she's still very pretty and very much a mature woman. I have no doubt that she's a "Born Again Christian" no matter what my own feelings are about such things.

I can't help but remember when the press interviewed the mother of one of Jeffery Dahmer's murder victims when he was killed in prison. They told her about his acceptance of the Christian faith and asked her if she thought the man who'd murdered her son had gone to Heaven? That little old lady said, "If he repented for his sins and accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior, then yes, I believe he is in Heaven.” I remember thinking what a true Christian that woman was. More of us need to be that way when it comes to forgiving others.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

HEAVEN AND HELL

Just being in love is wonderful. The euphoric feeling you feel even the little things in life take on a whole new meaning as you spend every waking hour thinking of that person and how much it hurts until you can be together again. The candle light dinners, the whispers of “I love you”, kissing so hard that your lips bleed and wanting to eat them up when you’re making wonderful, blissful, love. It isn’t just sex when you’re in love. Now take all that and think really, really hard and try and remember the first time it ever happened to you.

When I was sixteen in the summer of 1971 I got an after school job working at the concession stand of the “Carolina Theater” in Fayetteville, North Carolina for seventy five cents an hour. We used to occasionally steal a box of candy because it cost two hours wages and we couldn’t afford it. Apparently when the theater was built in 1926 it included retail space for rent and when I worked there we had a diner with a soda fountain on one side and a jewelry store on the other. I met some colorful characters there, but there was this guy named Charlie whose father owned the jewelry store next door. They had to use the restroom in the theater, so he’d come in a couple of times a day. He walked as if he were walking on air, I then realized where the term “light in the loafers” came from. He was twenty three, but it wasn’t long before he began striking up conversations with me. I told my father about him and snickered that I thought he was a queer and my father said, “Maybe he’s lonely and just needs a friend.”
Charlie soon began introducing me to some of his friends and then in October they asked me to go to Wilmington with them one Saturday night. I couldn’t figure out what to tell my parent’s, but with a few tips from Charlie I concocted a story about a party at Debbie’s house where the boys were going to go to another guy’s house to spend the night. My mother was working nights then, so I only had to tell the story to my father and he didn’t seem to think anything of it. They picked me up that night in Mark’s red 1970 Oldsmobile Cutlass and Mark, Lamont, Charlie, and I rode to Wilmington. I didn’t know it until I got in the car, but they’d decided I was going to be Mark’s date for the evening that was fine by me. Mark was twenty five, tall, blond, and handsome. I had a thing for blonds in my younger days and I got to ride in the front seat with him while he drove. I got my first real look at a gay bar that night and I couldn’t believe there were actually places out there where men could dance together and kiss right out in the open, I was dazzled by all of it. It was one of the most enlightening and exciting nights of my life, a whole new world had just opened up to me.

They rented a motel room with two double beds and Mark and I decided to stay there while Charlie and Lamont went off bar hopping in Mark’s car. I hadn’t been with another man in over a year, so I was thrilled to be in bed with someone as good looking as Mark. We had at least two hours to ourselves to make love before the other guys returned to the room. The next morning I put my briefs on under the covers and got up to take a piss. Charlie let out a groan and threw the covers over his head. I didn’t understand why he did that, but Mark later told me it was because when he saw my hairy chest he was upset that he’d let Mark have me instead of keeping me for him self. We drove back to Fayetteville and I was worried about making it home in time to get ready for work. They told me they would park down the street from our trailer and wait there while I changed and then take me to work. I walked in the door and the shit hit the fan!

Unbeknownst to me my mother had found a school directory and began calling my friends to see if they knew anything about the party at Debbie’s and the sleep over afterwards, of course none of them did. She was already at work, but my father was full of questions wanting to know where I’d been and who I was with. I told him I’d gone to Wilmington with some guys and they’re waiting to take me to work.” “What kind of guys and how old are they?” he asked. I got to thinking about what he’d said about Charlie needing a friend and the fact that he really didn’t care about me anyway because I didn’t play sports, all this while I was quickly changing clothes and brushing my teeth and hair. “Just some guys, they’re seniors.” I lied. My parent’s had to know I was gay, hell I knew I was different when I was three and walked around the house with my aunt Ruby’s purse wearing a pair of her clip on earrings. He insisted on driving me to the corner where they were waiting, so he could get a look at them, grilling me with questions all the way. I finally thought what the hell and said, “Daddy you know exactly what kind of guys I’m talking about.” He didn’t say one single word as I got out of his Mustang and got in the car with Mark and the others. As soon as I arrived at work the phone calls started coming in from my mother and I finally told her she would get me in trouble, so stop calling and I would talk to her when I got home. When I’m on my deathbed if God speaks to me and says I can live nine more months, but it would have to be those nine months, I will say, “Take me now Lord, no matter what awaits me, take me now.” If I thought the shit hit the fan with my dad it was a tiny turd compared to what my mother had in store for me. I hadn’t seen such screaming and carrying on since we lived in Germany, she begged, she pleaded, “Quit your job.” I said, “I’m not quitting my job, that’s the only way I have to buy school clothes and I’m saving up for a car.” “We’ll buy you a car, we’ll pay for your clothes.” she said. I knew money was tight, or she wouldn’t be working at a convenience store. What the hell kind of car could they afford to buy me? “No, I want to do it myself.” I said. She wanted to know, “Have ever even had sex with a girl, then how do you know you won’t like it?” “Because I just know.” I said. She got down on her knees in the living room floor and started swaying back and forth with her hands in the air clasped in prayer saying, “Oh Lord, Lord, Lord, why are you doing this to me? What did I ever do to deserve this?” I almost laughed out loud, if she could just see how crazy she looked down there swaying back and forth like some TV evangelist. The book “Carrie” by Stephen King hadn’t been published yet and it would be five more years before the movie came out, but I swear to God my mother acted just like Carrie White’s mother. It was all about her and how I was just doing it to hurt her. “Yes, I went out and sucked a dick just to get back at you mother.” was what I wanted to say, but I knew in her state of mind that it would generate a full fledged scratching, clawing, slapping attack. When she finally let me go to bed the tension in the house was so thick you could cut it with a knife.

I guess she decided if begging didn’t work she would just ignore me and for the next three weeks she didn’t say a word to me. She would come down the hall to the room I shared with my brother and flip the light on and say, “Get up!” Whenever I had a date with Mark she just couldn’t stand it, she finally told me that I couldn’t wait in her house, or in front of her house for him so I had to go down the street and wait in the dark alone for him. My brother Danny was always supportive of me even when my father told me I was worse than a dog licking another dog's dick. Danny said, “I don’t understand being gay, but I’m not going to be mean to you like mother and daddy.” as he sat with me in the dark to wait for my Mark to pick me up.
My evenings with Mark were wonderful, he listened to all my problems with my parents and said, “If things get too bad at home I’ll just take you up to Washington, D.C. and marry you, I’ll take care of you.” I was so ignorant I believed him, but hey when your sixteen and getting a blow job in a car parked out in the woods while Rod Stewart’s singing “Maggie May” on the radio you’ll believe anything. I was so in love with him I’d have done anything he asked me to. Some people act like they just can’t understand teen pregnancies, well I say those people have forgotten what it’s like to be a teenager in love.

My mother denies it to this very day, but I know she somehow got Mark’s number and called him. I’m sure she threatened him with statuary rape, or something, because after about a month Mark would make a date with me and then stand me up. He didn’t do it just once, he did it several times even when I pleaded with him to be sure and come get me. While I’d get dressed and sit and wait for him, mother would berate me the whole time, “See, this is the way men are, men do these kinds of things, a girl would love you and worship you not make a date with you and not show up.” It was bad enough Mark dropping me like a hot potato, but I didn’t need to hear all her shit pilled on top of my misery. When I could borrow a car I’d go and search for him and once found him playing pool at a bar. He had some sort of sorry excuse for being late, but still assured me he intended to come get me.

I did what every young gay guy did on TV and the movies in those days, I took an overdose of aspirin and all it did was make my ears ring. When that didn’t work I walked down to the drugstore, bought a bottle of Sominex, and took the whole thing. When I started acting goofy at work they called my mother who took me to the emergency room at Womack Medical Center. I wouldn’t tell anyone what I’d done and I don’t know how he missed my dilated pupils, but the doctor decided it was an allergic reaction to the penicillin I was taking for an impacted wisdom tooth and gave me a shot as an antidote. On the ride home I saw a spaceship land in the pine trees on the side of the road and a cartoon mouse sitting on the dash board talking to me.

The New Year came and went and I still couldn’t get used to the fact that Mark didn’t love me. I listened to the Diana Ross album “Surrender” over and over, and the song s like "I Can't Give Back the Love I Feel For You" and "Simple Thing Like Cry" just made me more depressed. To make matters worse Beverly Bremers released a song titled, “Don’t Say You Don’t Remember” and that one sent me into crying jags every time I heard it. Eight years ago I ordered a CD of it thinking I’d gotten over it years ago and after listening to it three times I put it away because of all the pain it brought back thirty years later. I’m glad to say I can now listen to it and sing along. I can now laugh about it, but the pain is still there way, way, in the back of my heart.
I went through phases where I bleached my hair blond, started drinking, wore a little makeup and started acting nellie, but when I realized that wasn’t what I was looking for in a date I soon changed my look and my ways.

Eventually my parents came to terms with my sexuality after sending me to a psychiatrist who simply told them I was gay and they were just going to have to accept it. By the next summer I could look myself in the mirror and see the guy I used to know and that was a relief. Although once on my way to work Mark and Lamont pulled up next to me at a stop light, I nodded hello, but when the light changed I was shaking so badly I almost couldn’t get the clutch in to get the car in gear. Hell yes love hurts, how can something so wonderful turn out to be so awful?

Friday, March 19, 2010

IF I DOOD IT I GET A WHIPPIN

I think that was an old line from the Fannie Brice "Baby Snooks" radio show from the 1940's. Did you ever do anything as a child, or teen that you knew was going to get you in trouble, but you did it anyway?
I know I did it dozens of times, but the first time that sticks in my mind was when I was around five and I was sitting in the front seat of the car in between my parents. I have no idea where my brother was because we always sat in the back with me on the right and him on the left. He might have been asleep in the back and my parents had allowed me to sit in the front seat with them, I don’t remember. We were sailing through the Hill Country of Texas in our two tone, pale green and white, 1957 Mercury Monterey when I asked, “Daddy, what would happen if I turned the key off while we were driving?” In a very serious voice he said, as if trying to teach me a life lesson, “That would be a very bad thing to do son because the engine would shut off, then we’d loose the power steering and the power brakes it might cause us to have a wreck.” I grew silent and sat there watching that key chain swing back and forth, back and forth, back and forth in the dash. I was transfixed, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, the key chain with the “God Of Mercury’s Head”, went back and forth, back in forth, until I just couldn't help myself. I leaned forward and turned the ignition off, we must've been doing at least seventy.
My father was only thirty one, still young and quick, he shifted the car into neutral, restarted it, and shifted it back into drive, then he slapped me hard on my bare leg saying, “Sammy don’t ever to do that again! You could’ve caused us to have a wreck!” I was happy the slap didn’t hurt that much and it was worth it just to see what would happen. I knew I'd get in trouble, but I just had to see for myself and we didn’t wreck like people did in the movies. No tires squealing, brakes burning, no crash, hubcaps flying off, doors flying open. So I knew my father had been wrong. Why did your parent’s always warn you about things that never happened?
About that same year when I was five and Danny was three, my father planted these huge “Elephant Ear’s” on the side of the driveway going to our garage. Once they’d reached a pretty good size and height our best friends from next door, Ava and Alonzo Gonzales, convinced us they would make great umbrellas. I said, “But it’s not raining.” and they said, “We can use them for parasols like people in the movies while they were walking in the park to keep the sun off them.” Well, that sounded good enough to us, so we broke them off at ground level and walked around in the sun twirling them around like the people did in the old fashioned movies probably singing the “Easter Parade” song from a late night TV movie, until there were none left, just an empty flower bed. We’d pretty much forgotten about it by the time my father arrived home from work. He stepped out of the car and immediately looked at the flower bed along the drive way. “Boy’s, what happened to those Elephant Ears I planted?” We stood there silent wondering what to tell him. I think I muttered something about, “We didn’t know, or maybe space men had taken them during the day while we weren’t looking.” Hell, it happened in the movies didn’t it? Or something equally as unconvincing. He said, “If you tell me the truth you won’t be in nearly as much trouble, if you lie about it you’re going to be in a lot of trouble.” I stood there wondering what he meant. Was the truth going to get us a whipping and a lie a really big whipping? Did one mean a belt and the other a paddle? Did one mean pants on, or pants down?” Then after thinking about it I realized we’d never gotten a spanking with a paddle, or with our pants down like I’d heard other kids had received, so I said weakly, “We used them for umbrellas.” He than said, “Thank you for telling me the truth. You’re not going to get spanking’s this time because you didn’t lie, but don’t ever do that again. Do you understand?” “Yes, daddy we understand.” Wow, was it that easy being a kid, screwing up and then admitting it? No, but it’s seemed a good life lesson for my entire life. My father once reminded me when I was around eighteen that, “Not everyone tells everything that happens to them in their lives the way we do some people keep secrets.” I remember thinking that was strange because couldn’t everyone read your mind and know what you were hiding anyway, so why bother?”
It was one of the last times I remember him actually being fair before his drinking over took all our lives while we lived in Germany.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

DEVISTATION

August 18th, 2006

Friday I was fired at the Porsche dealership. Needless to say it came as a complete and total shock to me. Sales have been down for several months and as of Friday we had yet to sell a single new car for the month, just two pre owned. At the beginning of the month the owner wanted my boss to fire the other salesman, but the Volkswagen manager came to his rescue and offered him a position at Volkswagen although I'm sure he doesn't intend to stay.
The pressure has been terrible, but we just haven't had quality people coming in the door and they do very little advertising. Bill, my boss, has been about to loose his mind and has been very afraid of loosing his job for several months. When the deal with the other salesman went down Bill said the owner had told him he'd considered having Bill go on the sales floor as a selling sales manager. Bill told me that they'd decided that wouldn't work because he wanted him to concentrate on parts and service because they've tanked as well. He told the other salesman a slightly different version saying he told the owner it wouldn't work, because he and I knew all the same customers. The owner has even been talking about adding another line along with Porsche. He's considering Alfa Romero, although I don't know why. They don’t even import cars to the United States.

Thursday morning they had a managers meeting, and Bill said the owner had said he was going to have to go down and sit in Bill's office for a week to see if he couldn't sell some cars and give Bill the week off. After the meeting the owner had with the Volkswagen manager he stayed in his office for over an hour and then he called Bill up to his office for about the same amount of time. When Bill came back he sat outside in his demo on his cell phone for over thirty minutes and when he finally came inside he was visibly shaken. I asked him if everything was all right and he said yes, but I could tell it wasn't.

Then around two hours later Volkswagen manager came over and went in Bill's office and shut the door and stayed in there for about forty five minutes. After that Bill came out and gave us the key to his office, which he does on his day off and said he was leaving for the day and would see us Saturday. I knew something bad was going on because Bill had told me the day before he was going to work bell to bell Thursday and work Friday which is his usual day off. He said John had told him to take the day off. The salesman who had gone over to Volkswagen had taken Thursday off, but he called me at 4:15 PM to tell me that someone in Volkswagen had text messaged him that Bill and I had both been fired. He refused to tell me who it was. Of course I panicked and began calling other people at the dealership to see if they knew where that had come from. They all assured me that that would never happen. Every one knows, although I don't think the owner does, that I've pretty much been doing all Bill's work for years. I order the cars, stock them in, keep the internet site updated daily and if you look at every single hang tag or sticker in any pre owned car on the lot it's in my hand writing. I move the battery charger from car to car on the showroom, and even the service and parts people come to me when they need help. I haven't taken a day off in seven years, or a vacation except to take three days off each year for my sales award trips. I work ten to eleven hours a day six days a week. The monthly news letter had just come out announcing my seven year anniversary at the dealership and that I was the top Porsche sales advisor for the month of July. They fired me eight days shy of my seven year anniversary. I just hope they don't cheat me out of my vacation pay. Of course they're not going to give me my trip to Germany I won as top salesman for the year, they already told me that.
I called Bill at home and he sounded very angry and said he was going to call the owner at the ranch and get to the bottom of things, and call me back. He never did and when I called him that night and Friday morning he never answered his phone, the chicken shit.

I went into work Friday two hours early, and when I tried to log on to my computer I was locked out. Soon afterwards I saw the Volkswagen sales manager and the Volkswagen service manager walking over from Volkswagen and I knew what was about to happen. The Volkswagen manager told me he was now the new Porsche sales manager and I didn't fit in with his new plans and he was letting me go. I've seen many people over the years who haven't done one tenth of the job I've done been offered a position somewhere else at the dealership, but I was simply fired. I found out yesterday that Bill has been demoted to a salesman and I assume he told the owner the only way it would work for him was if I were gone. I'm sure he wanted my customer base. The sad thing is that no one really expects Bill to stay very long, I'm sure he's been looking for another job for several months now. It took me over two hours to pack up seven years of my stuff and almost everyone there came up to tell me how sorry they were, shake my hand and wish me luck. Luckily I've kept good records and have the names, address and phone numbers of all my customers.
I'm still in a state of shock and walking around in a daze. I've got to get on the ball and get a new resume typed up.
Here’s an e-mail I sent the owner;

Dear Chas,
I wanted to take this time to tell you how much I appreciate the chance you gave me to work at your dealership. The past seven years have been absolutely the best of my thirty year career. I have never been prouder to be associated with any organization in my entire life.
Special thanks for the sales award trips you've given me. They've allowed me to see places I probably wouldn't have seen otherwise and places I've always dreamed of.
I hope I will be able to use you as a reference in my pursuit of employment and I will always have fond memories of my time at your dealership.
Sincerely,
Sam Fowler

He promised to write me a letter of recommendation, but I never got it and it was only a few days before I got a letter from their attorney accusing me of theft of their property and threatening to file charges against me if I didn’t return my card files. I had to hire an attorney and it cost me over nineteen hundred dollars to have him call them off because I’d never signed anything stating that I couldn’t contact them. Apparently a few years after I was hired they had new employees sign a non compete agreement, but I never signed one. I got my vacation pay, but most of it went to the attorney and of course they still refused my trip I’d won to Germany. There’s gratitude for you! I can’t wait to see what kind of Karma comes back on these people.

Monday, March 15, 2010

THE PHAETON

July 10th, 2005
A friend of mine once said, "You tell everything you know, just to have something to talk about." Friday I had the oil changed in my silver 2005 Volkswagen Phaeton paid a porter to wash it and filled it up with gas, so I was all set for the weekend.

I went to bed early Saturday night and got up early Sunday morning and did a few small chores around the condo. Then I went to the Braum's on White Settlement Road for breakfast and decided to run down to Lowe's to get a plant, potting soil, and a couple other items. I went home and tidied up all the plants on my front and back balcony's then decided I needed another plant just like the one I bought to hang on the light post in front. I went back to Braum's, got an iced tea to go, and went back to Lowe's then started for home, pretty boring huh?
I was driving down White Settlement Road and on my right is a park that runs along the Trinity River. There is a small paved parking lot for people to park, a paved bike trail, and a walking trail. Usually there are lots of people out there, but it was about 3:00PM and one hundred and three degrees and all I saw was this kid of about thirteen riding with his back to me on the grass along the side of the road. I remember thinking "Why isn't that idiot kid on the trail?" About that time he turned without looking and darted right in front of me! I really didn’t have time to hit the brakes I just jerked the car to the right and went in between two small trees which I was glad to have missed then I hit the brakes and the car wouldn’t stop it just slid right down the bank and into the river. The windshield broke from the force of the water and started to cave in. It was covered with water at first and I couldn’t see, but then it cleared and the car began to float and started turning around in the water. I tried the door, but I couldn’t open it and what little I did just caused more water come inside the car.
I opened the moonroof and climbed out through it, the car was still moving and I thought “Could you float a little closer to the bank?” But no, it floated right to the middle of the river, turned completely around and sank to the door handles. I was sitting there wondering what to do when I realized I had “On Star” I didn’t believe in cell phones then, I do now though. I wondered if it would even work, but I put one foot in the driver’s seat and one in the passenger’s seat, squatted down and pushed the button. I could still hear the CD playing and the air conditioner was still blowing. The lady came on and I asked her to call 911 and told her I’d run off the road and that my car was sinking in the river. She told me she would call the emergency crew and wanted to know if she could keep me on the line. I told her, “No, my car is filling with water and I’ve got to get out!” I got back up on the roof and just sat there. The car started doing all kinds of weird stuff as it filled with water. Bells and chimes started going off, the left rear window rolled down, the driver’s seat tilted up and moved forward and I could hear sizzling, popping and cracking, noises coming from the speakers. I was afraid the moonroof would close on my legs so I pulled them out and sat crossed legged on the roof. It was real quiet and I heard another strange noise and realized it was the horn honking under water.

Finally I heard sirens and some firemen with the water rescue team ran down and asked me if I was OK and if anyone was with me? I told them I was OK and I was the only one in the car. All I had were a couple of tiny cuts on my legs from shards of glass from the windshield.
They threw me a life vest and I put it on and then slid down the side of the car and into the murky, nasty smelling water. I felt like a dummy when I realized it was just above my waist, but I did need their help getting out of the water and on to the bank. Once I walked up the bank I couldn’t believe it, five police cars showed up, three fire trucks, a truck with a boat behind it and an underwater rescue unit truck. One of the underwater rescue divers was hot. He was a tiny little guy with a fantastic hard body and he looked great in his wet suit. Eventually two television news crews showed up, set up cameras and started rolling film. The police told me I didn’t have to speak to them if I didn’t want to and that they didn’t like them anyway.

When one of the guys came up to me and asked what happened? I told him the guy in the car told me that a kid on a bike ran out in front of him and when he swerved to miss him and ran into the water, he said “Oh, it wasn’t you?” I said, “No, I just helped.” It was obvious I was wet. He asked what happened to him and I said, “They took him away in an ambulance.” Then they took their stuff down and left. The fireman standing next to me smiled and said, “Good job!”

It took then almost two and a half hours and two tow trucks to get the car out of the water. It almost turned over in the water and the weight of it almost pulled one of the wreckers down into the water with it. It took two tow trucks to get it out. Finally the wrecker driver gave me a ride to the dealership, so I could get another car to get to work the next morning and he took my car to the body shop.

I’m just sick about it. The Phaeton was the most fantastic car I’ve ever owned and I loved it!
That’s how I spent my Sunday.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

VIBRATING TESTICLES

I just wondered if anyone else has this problem. Even though I'm Gay I occasionally find myself in a sexual relationship with a female, usually in a three way with the husband. I was hot and heavy in a sexual relationship with a couple in her thirties back in 2005. She said she was on the pill, but I wasn’t so sure myself. They made quite a fuss over the expensive new cars I drove and my condo. I can't stand condoms and she didn't like them either, so I decided to get a vasectomy the day before Thanksgiving in 2005. I was making a lot of money and I didn't want to be stuck with child support payments. A coworker who didn’t make half the money I did was paying something like six hundred and fifty dollars to his ex wife, so I didn’t want to imagine what I’d have to pay.

I never told them about it because I suspected she wanted to get pregnant. I was one of the lucky ones who didn't need ice packs, or have any pain or swelling and I went back to work the day after Thanksgiving, I just made sure I wore tight underwear. The doctor who performed the procedure used stainless steel clips to tie off the tubes, veins, whatever, so they wouldn't accidentally grow back together and I can't remember what he said. The doctor only made one tiny incision.

Well a few months after that I would feel a vibrating in my crotch. I always keep my cell phone on vibrate when I'm at work because I think it's rude to answer your phone when you have a customer, so I would always reach in my pocket to see if I'd missed a call and there weren't any calls.
It happened quite often and I began to realize it was happening even when my cell phone was on my desk, in my briefcase, or on the charger. It's still going on and it happened two days ago while I was on my computer sitting in my sleeping shorts while my cell phone was on my night stand. What is it? It is definitely a vibrating, humming feel that only last a few seconds and then goes away. I guess at my age I should be glad to have anything going on in my shorts, but this really bugs me. Sometimes I think it's a plane going overhead, or a truck going by, but I've been standing alone in my office when it happens. What else could cause a buzzing feeling in your groin? It's like someone put aluminum foil on my nuts and started humming "Dixie"!

I've often thought of an old story about Lucille Ball breaking up a Japanese spy ring in World War Two because one day when she was driving home from the studio she got a vibration in her teeth fillings. Apparently Lucy had very bad teeth from what I've read. She put her car in reverse and backed up to where the signal was the strongest it was Morse code and when she reported it to the police they discovered a Japanese spy ring right there in L.A.
It took a while before I noticed it and it’s quite random and unexpected. Usually when it happens I start looking at electrical equipment around me to see if something is going haywire. Seriously maybe if I moved to California it would be an early alert for earthquakes or something. It doesn't feel bad, or good, it's just always a shock when it happens. I've never noticed it at night and I'm sure they don't noticeably move, but it always seems to happen when I'm around computers, in the car, or near electrical stuff.
I’ve been told I should call my doctor and tell him. It was embarrassing enough having to take a sperm sample to the ladies in the office to be sure I was sterile. I don't think I could ever explain to a receptionist or a nurse unless we were naked together and then I know they’d laugh in my face. I don't feel any pain, or discomfort and he warned me that I might be able to feel the clips, but after much exploration I think I might have felt one at one time I'm not sure I was concentrating on something else. Now if there were a chance of a lawsuit with a large cash settlement I'd show my balls to a judge or jury and never give it a second thought.

Hey my primary physician is gay maybe I'll ask him. I've been going to him for twenty one years and he was freaked out when he found out I had a vasectomy. The dumb ass thought I had it done to prevent STDs which I have never had and made his nurse call me to ask me why I had it done. I just told her there was a female involved and he didn't know everything about me.

Someone suggested it might be tight jeans, I stopped wearing tight jeans about thirteen years ago. I've reached the age where I want everything to fit without hurting me. Loose pants, underwear, shirts, jackets, etc. I even try and have my shoes resoled because I don't like breaking in new ones. I just want to be comfortable these days. I guess I’ll just have to live with it unless I start getting terrorist messages through my nuts. Try explaining that to the FBI.

Friday, March 12, 2010

SOMEWHERE IN TIME

October 11th, 2004
Christopher Reeve has died. Very sad news, my heart is broken, he was a hero to me. Every time I feel like I'm just working my behind off for nothing, or that life is just so much bullshit I try to think of Chris and how he fought so hard just to walk again.

I'm going to the "Somewhere in Time" weekend at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island October from October, 29th through the 31st and I was actually hoping to meet him. Some members of the cast show up each year to this event. He has attended and so has Jane Seymour. I was really looking forward to telling him what an inspiration he is. Now when they show the movie, "Somewhere in Time" the ending will be even more bittersweet. We’re leaving next Friday morning and have a six hour layover at the Detroit airport. We will be lucky to catch the last ferry of the day to the island. I'm sure it will be very touching being so soon after his death. They show the movie on Thursday and Friday nights. It's the first time most people ever get to see it on the big screen since the movie didn't get promoted because of an actors strike and bombed at the box office back when it was released in 1980. Chris Reeve himself said, "It bombed so badly it left a crater on 42nd St."

I've got to go home tonight and get out my tux and white dinner jacket and see if they still fit, then find all the darned stuff that goes with them. Do you wear the same things with the white dinner jacket as you do with the tux? I've never worn it before. They'll still be talking about me next year as the idiot that bawled like a baby at the end of the movie.
The Grand Hotel
When we got there on Friday only some of the guest were in period costume and only a few on Saturday during the day. I thought it looked kind of silly at first, but on Saturday night, oh my God! At least ninety five percent of the people were in 1912 period outfits. Men were wearing white tie and tails, and top hats, some were in military uniforms from the era. Women were in grand dresses and huge hats. It was like an out of body experience actually being back in 1912. The next morning almost everyone was back in casual clothes and it was a bit of a let down. Some of the people actually had to ship their three hundred dollar hats back ahead of them. I wish I'd gotten photos of them, but our cameras were back in the room and they had a costume promenade in the lobby and it went right down the hall where our room was on the first floor. I couldn't get back to the room without going all the way down the front porch, the longest in the world according to the “Guinness Book of World Records” and it was too cold and windy. I didn't break down at the end of the movie on Friday night like I was afraid I would. I took Ron with me and he got quite drunk. I was so mad at him trying to keep him quiet, upright, and awake, that I didn't get too upset at the end. They had a memorial for Chris on Saturday afternoon at 4:00PM, but we took a carriage tour of the island instead, I couldn't have taken the memorial service.

We met a great lady at the hotel she flew in from Detroit with us. I couldn't stop looking at her. She had that Jackie Kennedy, Gloria Vanderbilt, Brook Astor look about her. Her name was Kay and she's Carleton Varney's "Carpet Lady". He’s the world renounced decorator who completely re decorated the Grand Hotel. She was there to measure some of the rooms Carleton was going to redo this season for the hotel. She had dinner with us on Friday and Saturday nights and went on the carriage tour with us as well. She was from Newark, New Jersey. Very classy, very elegant, and looked like east coast old money. She was a joy to be around.
I got a DVD of "Somewhere in Time" autographed by Jane Seymour. They only had twenty of them and they went to the highest bidders. I saw where someone had bid one hundred and twenty dollars, so I didn't think I had a chance because I bid forty dollars, but when I went back to the room Saturday night, there it was in a gift bag on the table and the next day it wasn't charged to my room? Kay had introduced us to the Hotel manager, so maybe she arranged it I don't know. There was talk of Jane Seymour attending next year as it is the twenty fifth anniversary of the films release.
Ron came over last night to pick up his photos, he and I both had cameras. I had them developed and he paid for half. We sat down and watched the movie so we could see scenes and places, while they were still fresh in our minds. He said it was only the second time he'd seen the movie. I had to remind him he saw it at the hotel and on the first night we met. The only thing I regret was not going on a group tour showing some key locations where scenes were filmed. Ron had a hangover and wanted to sleep in. They put up a plaque at the spot where Elise asks Richard, "Is it you?" and we looked for it, but couldn't find it. Although we found out later we were probably within twenty feet of it. I noticed forked trees that looked exactly like the movie, but a front was blowing in and it was getting windy and cold, so we went in for lunch.

I asked Ron if I won a trip from the dealership next year would he like to go again. He said no, he never goes to the same place twice, there are just too many places to see. Pretty picky for someone who just got a wonderful trip for free. I told him maybe next year he could stay sober and it would be like seeing it for the first time, he was not amused.

March 7th, 2006
This morning after checking my Lotto tickets as I do every morning realizing I'll probably have to work the rest of my life. I was making breakfast and making a salad to take for lunch. I was reminding myself as I try to do often of all the things I have to be thankful for like the fact that I'm not in a wheelchair like Christopher Reeve. I heard the news on television that Dana Reeve died of lung cancer. How unfair is that? A lady full of dignity and grace, who cared for Chris for ten years after his accident dies and now their young son is without a father and a mother. Tears are streaming down my face as I write this and it really tests my faith. I can only hope and pray that she and Chris are united again in Heaven, the way Richard and Elise were reunited in the movie “Somewhere in Time.”
God bless you Dana, may you and Chris share peace and happiness together "Somewhere in Time".

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

AND LOVE MOST SWEET

Have you ever seen someone and thought? “Wow! I wish my life were just like that.” Well that’s how I felt when I first met Marty and Don in 1975. My friend Rusty was a stylist in their little beauty shop off Big Spring Street, in Midland. He introduced them to me one day when I stopped by to visit. They were gracious, charming, and impeccably dressed. They were in their mid thirties which seemed old to me at the time, but they had great hair and brilliant tooth paste commercial smiles. Rusty told me later that they’d been together for thirteen years and lived in a beautiful two bedroom in the exclusive “Riviera Apartments” just a couple of blocks from the salon. They owned a gorgeous gold boat tailed 1973 Buick Riviera because they went everywhere together one car was all they needed. Despite their small shop their client list included most of Midland’s elite females. That allowed them to take exotic vacations to Italy, Greece, and France. They had furs, and jewels, the latest designer clothes and the best in what cosmetic surgery and cosmetic dentistry had to offer. I told Rusty, “I can’t believe guys their age would already be having plastic surgery.” He said, “I think that it’s nice that they’re so in love that they want to stay attractive for each other.” Oh well, who was I to judge? All I knew is that I wanted to find a partner and be just like them, happy and successful. Boy did I have them pegged wrong.

It was December 1975 before I saw the first crack in their picture perfect façade. It was the day before I was to leave Midland and fly to San Antonio to start Air Force basic training. Rusty informed me that Marty and Don had expressed an interest in having a three way with me and wanted to know if I was interested. At first I was a little concerned because I certainly thought they were way out of my league and they might be disappointed. I also couldn’t imagine a couple that were supposedly so happy in their relationship wanting to bring someone else in for sex. Rusty said, “After thirteen years everyone gets bored, they only do it as a couple it brings more spice into their relationship.” Then he assured me they would be delighted with me and offered to drive me over there. I think he was more concerned with scoring points with his bosses than my real feelings in the matter because he simply wouldn’t take no for an answer. I was nervous as hell when I got there, but they were very friendly and made me feel welcome. After making me a rum and Coke they showed me around their apartment. I was quite impressed with all their crystal, marble, and silver. They had off white shag carpet with mirrored walls and beautiful furniture. I’d never seen anyone decorate an apartment like that before. I asked them, “Won’t management be upset when they see all the mirrors on the walls and the colors you’ve painted the place?” Don said, “Oh, we’ve lived here for over ten years, they’re thrilled that we’ve made so many improvements. We plan on buying a house soon and they know they won’t have any trouble renting the place after we’re gone.” When our little threesome moved to the bedroom I found out a few more things about them. For one, Marty was a top and Don was a bottom and that thoroughly shocked me because Marty was the more flamboyant and effeminate of the two, second, they had separate bedrooms and we were doing our partying in Don’s room, third, Marty already had stainless steel implants in his penis to make it stay erect. It wasn’t large in fact it was rather small, but it was in a perpetual state of erection. After things got going Marty excused himself and Don and I finished what we were doing. I called Rusty to come get me even though they offered to let me spend the night. I reminded them I had a flight to catch in the morning and Rusty was taking me to the airport. On the ride back to Rusty’s house I said, “I’m really disappointed, their life isn’t at all what I thought it would be like.” Rusty said, “You don’t know the half of it, I remember one night they were on their way back from the bar in Odessa and they stopped that Riviera under one of the over passes by the airport and started slugging it out right there on the side of the road.” Little did I realize I’d only seen the tip of the ice berg.

My little stint in the Air Force didn’t last long, I didn’t even finish basic training. I don't know what recruiters tell young people these days, but mine told me not to mention my heart problem unless it showed up on an EKG.
Needless to say about two weeks into basic training I was in a shot line sweating like a pig and white as a sheet and it was mid December. A doctor called me over and took my pulse he told me to go have a seat and that pretty much was the end of my military career. Luckily one of the doctors told me never to tell anyone I'd lied about my heart problem, or I would've gotten in a lot of trouble.
They wanted to put me through a battery of test and I couldn’t understand why they just couldn’t get my medical records from Brooks Army Medical Center right there in San Antonio from when I was thirteen. They said it might be several weeks before I got out. Christmas was coming up and I didn’t want to spend it there, so I told them I was gay. One physiatrist they sent me to wanted to know just why I thought I was gay and how I knew. He kept going on about it so much and repeating himself I started to say, “You’re pretty cute, why don’t you drop your pants right here and I’ll demonstrate for you?”, but I thought that might be crossing the line just a tad. I had to sit down with pencil and lined notebook paper to write about my homosexual experiences. The lady who gave it to me said, “Now don’t you worry, I’ve heard everything, you just write about what you’ve done with men.” I figured they’d get a kick out of it and snicker if I wrote down words like blow job, so I used all the correct terms such as anal sex, oral sex and told of my experiences at fifteen with George and even about the night before I left Midland with Marty and Don.

I received an Honorable discharge and was so relieved to be released on December 23rd, just in time to get home from San Antonio to Lampasas for Christmas. At the bus station I felt sorry for all the kids who had such a long way to go before they could get home, but all the Air Force would do was pay our way home on the bus. My mother pulled up to the bus station in my bayberry green 1970 Cadillac Fleetwood, honked the horn, yelled my name, popped the trunk and I threw my duffel bag in slid behind the wheel and drove off. There were a lot of shocked looks on that bus, but I was glad to be getting the hell out of there. The first thing we did was drive to a huge mall and my mother bought me a wig for Christmas. That was 1975 and having a three week old military "Buzz Cut" was not fashionable. Mother could be a hoot at times, we bought Bacardi Rum and Coke and drank it on the way home. There was this elegant looking white haired lady in a new white Lincoln Town Car that passed my Cadillac. There was a giant wrapped Christmas present in it that took up the entire back seat. My mother said, "I want to see what's in that package." I said, “Me too.” She and I had a great time laughing about how the lady would tell the police that this young guy in a wig and this lady in a Cadillac had run her off the road, thrown open her back door, ripped open the package, ran away laughing and sped off.

Later when I was selling Cadillac’s Marty and Don wanted to trade in the 1976 Oldsmobile Cutlass they’d bought for a new light blue metallic 1978 Coupe De Ville. At first was afraid to have those two show up at the dealership, but it turned out that they’d both worked in my boss’s wife’s beauty shop in the sixties and he knew all about them. Don later told me, “Bennie’s wife Mary, invented PMS. She’d go around swallowing B.C. Powder, smoking cigarettes and drinking Cokes all day, while being mean as a snake.”
One day Marty popped into my office unexpectedly and I gasped in horror, “What happened?” His face was all swollen and bruised and he had bandages wrapped around his head. My first thought was that he’d been in a terrible car wreck, and needed a new car. “Oh no I’m fine” he said. “I just got back from having a face lift in Dallas and I wanted to see if I could bring the Cadillac in for an oil change next week.” They weren’t even forty yet and they were having extensive surgeries that most people didn’t have until they’d reached their sixties. Don was the worse of the two his face was stretched so tight it was shinny and even though I don’t think they had collagen injections back then his lips pouched out like a fish and made his speech sound impaired. They ended up looking like someone in their sixties who’d had a lot of work done rather than someone who wasn’t even forty yet. They wore tons of pancake makeup, over sized gold jewelry, rings, chains, watches, bracelets, you name it. My friend Todd once pulled up beside their Cadillac at a light and thought to himself, “Those are two well dressed little old ladies.” only to realize it was Marty and Don. I saw a woman once who looked just like Don and I started to ask her if she were his sister when I realized she’d just had a lot of plastic surgery and the similarity in their appearances was just the result of bad surgery. I can’t imagine how much money they must’ve spent over the years, but it had to be a hundred thousand dollars or more. They traded their car the next year for a green 1979 Coupe De Ville. I didn’t see much of them after I moved to the Buick dealership down the street, but when I went back to Cadillac in 1984 I started seeing more of them again.

By that time they’d begun to change they’d built a big new salon in a brand new strip mall and advertised on radio and television. With the oil boom that was taking place in Midland at the time their business was thriving. You had to book an appointment three weeks in advance just to have them do your hair unless you wanted one of their new staff members working on you and the old guard of Midland wouldn’t hear of it. Don had always acted stuck up and aloof, while Marty, who was friendlier, often showed up rip roaring drunk at the dealership. They always turned down any invitation Todd and I ever extended to them, so we assumed they just thought they were above us. After a while we just stopped inviting them. Once, they did invite Todd and me over to their new house on Whitney Street, for Sunday brunch. When we arrived, Don was no where to be seen. By this time Marty was quite drunk and over the years he’d affected a way of moving and talking that was a combination of Gloria Swanson in “Sunset Boulevard”, and Bette Davis. We even invented a name for it, we called it “Swansoning”. We’d say, “Marty was Swansoning around the room drunk talking like Bette Davis”. His diction became so exaggerated that it sounded like he was finishing the last word of each sentence with a “ta”. “Where’s Don?” we asked. “He burnt his dick!” “What?” we asked. “That bastard, motherfucking, son of a bitch, burnt his dick and he’s at the hospital where I hope he dies. I hope they have to cut it off and his balls too!” We were alarmed, “Marty what happened? Do we need to go to the hospital to check on him? Is he up there alone? Did you drive him?” “No, the motherfucker drove himself there and I hope he dies.” he said. “He was pouring hot tea into a glass picture and it shattered and burnt his dick.” We insisted on calling the hospital emergency room to check on Don, but they told us he was in seeing the doctor and would be fine. We stayed for brunch, but Marty was so drunk and out of it we didn’t have much fun.

One Monday Marty called me from home and we made a deal over the phone to trade in their 1981 Cadillac Fleetwood Coupe on a new 1985 lavender metallic Fleetwood sedan. I could tell Marty was shitfaced and I kept asking him if Don knew what he was doing and was in agreement and he assured me he was. I had to go to all the trouble of getting a joint credit application over the phone, call and get the payoff to their current car and have all the papers drawn up and the new car detailed to deliver it to their house. Marty told me to drive it up to their garage door in the alley, so he could transfer some things from the old car to the new car. When I got there the door was up and I pulled up behind the older car, so I could do a proper delivery of the new car with the doors open. Marty came out first, then Don came out, I assumed to admire the new car. Instead he told me, “Sam I don’t mean to be rude but you’d better move that car unless you want it damaged, because I’m leaving, and if it’s in my way I’m going to knock it through the Goddamn fence.” I looked at Marty like, “What the hell?” and hurriedly moved it because Don was already in their car with the backup lights on. He practically burned rubber getting out of there. It turned out just as I’d suspected, Marty had gotten drunk and decided he was going to trade cars when Don wanted nothing to do with it. A few months later they did buy a new 1986 Sedan De Ville from me in the same lavender color slathered in gold. We didn’t know it yet, but there was a reason Marty had started acting so strangely, part of it was due to the fact that his alcoholism was spiraling out of control, but most of it was due to the fact that they’d discovered Don had AIDS. They both had a membership at a local gym and were sitting in the hot tub one evening with all their jewelry on when an employee walked over and dumped a large container of bleach into the water. Soon afterwards their membership was cancelled and they were told not to come back. Marty told me once that many of their trips were to New York City, or San Francisco, where Don insisted on spending a great deal of their time at the gay bath houses, he once found Don lying on his back with a pool of cum under his ass. He was quite against the open relationship thing and bitterly resented Don for it.

By 1986 the boom was over in Midland and we were in the mist of a deep recession, so virtually all of my friends had moved to Dallas and Todd and his partner had moved to Palm Springs. I was still getting by, so I stayed and tried to make due with long distance phone calls to ease my loneliness. Marty and Don began to ask me over more often and we would go out for lunch occasionally on Sundays. When Don was around Marty would pretty much behave him self. There were times he’d say inappropriate things too loud, and once he told Don, “I wish you’d just hurry up and die, you’re fucking up my life!” Don had tears in his eyes as he explained to me that Marty had always been the center of attention and he just couldn’t stand the fact that now that he was sick he was getting more attention than Marty. After Don started getting worse and his hair fell out from radiation to treat lesions on his brain, he would tell Marty and me just to go out without him and have a nice lunch. Marty’s behavior just got worse. He was always too drunk to drive and I didn’t want him having that much control over me, so we’d take my company Cadillac. The minute he’d get in my car his clothes would fly off like a “Chippendale” dancer and he’d be sitting there in nothing but a G string and sweat socks. Actually there were three socks because he would strategically place one in his G string with a rubber band around the end of it to make it appear like the head of his dick. Then he’d put his feet up on the sun visor, so people could see his bare ass with me screaming at him the whole time to put his clothes back on. This was all in broad daylight. Once we were having lunch at a very nice Chinese restaurant and he said quietly, “Do you know what I’d like to do to you?” I said, “No what?” “I WANT TO SUCK YOUR DICK!” He screamed. You could hear silverware dropping all over the restaurant. I told him, “If you ever embarrass me like that again, I’ll never go anywhere with you.” He apparently had been showing up at certain restaurants drunk and alone because you could see the look on the management’s faces when we walked in. It got so bad that we’d be seated in an empty room, or near the kitchen where it was the noisiest, so people couldn’t hear him.

The last straw for me came in early January 1988. I’d just had three open heart surgeries, back to back in late 1987 to try and correct a condition I was born with Wolf Parkinson White Syndrome and I was tired of being cooped up in my apartment. Marty called on a Sunday and since he’d missed my birthday on the fifth he wanted to take me to the Petroleum Club for dinner. I could tell he was in his usual state of inebriation and I said, “Marty the Petroleum Club is closed on Sunday. I’m not even a member and I know that.” He insisted that they were and he would call to make sure then he called back and said I was right and offered to take me to “Jorge’s” Mexican restaurant instead. He said, “Let’s wear our furs.” He had a huge red fox coat and a long beaver coat and I had a mink bomber jacket. I told him, “Marty it was fifty five degrees today and I’m not going out in Midland wearing a fur.” He argued with me a while longer and then said he was coming over to get me. There was a knock on the door and sure enough there he stood drunk as a skunk in his fur coat with full makeup and smelling like he was wearing an entire bottle of cologne, it made me gag. That’s when the battle began. I first made him take off his coat and told him we were going in my Oldsmobile demo because I was going to drive. He insisted he couldn’t be seen an anything but a Cadillac, so after much arguing and him spilling scotch and water on my carpet, I finally said,”Alright we’ll go in your car, but I’m driving and I’m keeping the keys because the very first time you act up or embarrass me I’m leaving and if you don’t want to walk you’d better be right behind me.” On the way over he kept pawing me and leering while laughing in a low voice like he knew something funny that no one else was privy to. As we pulled up in front of “Jorge’s”, I said, “Marty I mean it, if you act up just once, I’m gone.” When we got inside there was a line of people waiting to be seated. He kept on making that low laughing sound as I spotted a customer of mine with his family. The wife looked at me and smiled, I smiled back and nodded my head to her. At that very moment while our eyes were still locked on each other Marty reached down with the speed of lightening and grabbed my crotch so hard I swear I almost blacked out. Not so much from the pain in my balls but from the force. I doubled over in pain from my freshly cut sternum and when I straightened up the lady was looking at me with a look of disgust. “That’s it!” I said through clenched teeth and turned around and walked out. I opened Marty’s car, got behind the wheel and started the engine. He stood there at the driver’s door in a stupor asking me, “Are you just going to go off and leave me?” I said, “If you don’t get in this fucking car right now I will, now get your drunken ass in here or I’m leaving. You’ve embarrassed me for the last time!” All the way to my apartment he whined like a little boy while I hurled obscenities and insults at him. When I pulled into the parking lot and put the car in park. He said, “What am I supposed to do for dinner?” “I said you can eat shit for all I care just get behind the wheel and get your ass home before I call the police and report you for drunk driving.” I got out, slammed the door and walked into my apartment. I watched him out the front window and he sat there in the passenger seat for five minutes before he popped the trunk, got out, put on his fur and then drove off. I was through with his sorry ass and swore I’d never go anywhere with him again.

Three months after that I moved to Dallas and didn’t have a phone in my name for four months and I certainly didn’t bother calling him and sharing it with him. He started calling Todd in Palm Springs in the middle of the night. That’s how I found out Don passed away in November. He’d told Marty just to scatter his ashes around the tree in the back yard, but Marty by his own admission, buried them in the box they gave him at the funeral home and went out back and pissed on them every chance he got. In some ways I’d like to think it was just his misguided way of dealing with loosing his partner of twenty six years, but Marty related some of the things he screamed into Don’s ear at his moment of death. I picture scenes from “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane” going on in that house and I imagine Don was more than ready to die by then. You just don’t deal with grief in the nasty, hateful, cruel way Marty did. Don had told me before he died that Marty would be financially set for life because he has over three hundred seventy five thousand dollars in life insurance and it would be given to Marty in monthly installments for the rest of his life. With their successful business Marty would be able to make it even though the house and car weren’t paid for as long as Marty had the right friends. He looked at me when he said it like I would be moving in the minute they carried his body out the door. There wasn’t enough money in the entire world to make me ever want to move in with Marty by then and things just got worse through the years. In one of his 2:00 AM long distance calls to Todd, Julio Iglesias was blaring in the background and Marty told him he was dancing around the room naked wearing his full length mink with a bottle of champagne in his ass because he’d heard you would get high faster that way. Todd said the call lasted over an hour and he would just sit the phone on the pillow between him and his partner listening to Julio, while he supposed Marty was dancing around the room and every now and then he would come to the phone and say something. I don’t know why Todd didn’t just hang up, I guess he knew Marty would just call back.

I moved back to Midland briefly in 1991 and we found out that one of Marty’s clients had told him how he could go down and borrow money against Don’s life insurance policy and get a lump sum of cash even if it wasn’t the entire amount. I really wish she hadn’t told him that because he did it and the money was gone in less than two years. Marty who was in his early fifties by then found a new twenty year old boyfriend and lavished him with jewelry, clothes, trips, and a brand new red Mazda Miata. After the kid left him Marty drove his new Cadillac trough the chain link fence on the outskirts of Midland Community College and when he couldn’t find an exit he drove it through the fence again to get out. By that time I was back in Dallas and Todd was back in Midland. Todd said when he drove Marty over to get the car out of the police impound lot he said you could see the waffle pattern of that chain link fence in the hood of the Cadillac. Marty got a DWI then and there may have been others we didn’t know about that didn’t involve accidents. Marty was fond of going to physics and they took him for every dollar they could. One told him he was going to meet the next love of his life named Pierre, in Switzerland, so Marty took a six week trip there and left the salon to run itself. I told Todd, “I feel sorry for the first son of a bitch he runs into over there named Pierre.”

In one of his pitiful bids for attention he called Todd to his house one day threatening suicide. Todd was so concerned about him he called Marty’s doctor. After the doctor arrived he called the local mental hospital and had Marty committed, they took him by ambulance in a straight jacket, strapped to a gurney. Todd went there while he was being examined and said he was in a locked room screaming and growling like a tiger while he crawled around the room on all fours. This was one of their many attempts to dry him out and get him sober, but nothing worked for more than a few days. In May of 1995 I was visiting Todd. I’d driven down from Dallas because my Aunt Agnes wasn’t expected to live. We were sitting around having cocktails when Marty called. Todd really didn’t want him in the house anymore since catching him in the bathroom drinking cologne when there was perfectly good liquor available. After a few drinks and a couple of calls from Marty Todd’s partner James and I decided we didn’t think it was very nice that Marty was still pissing on Don’s ashes in the backyard, so we decided to fuck with him. James had a great idea he asked Todd, “Did Don have a pet name for Marty?” Todd thought for a minute and said, “Yes, monkey, because he’s so hairy.” That was news to me in all the years I’d known them and even I didn’t know that. James dialed Marty’s number, and in a deep low exorcist sounding voice said, “Monkey stop pissing on me!” and hung up. Marty called Todd, and said, “Oh my God! Don just called me from the bowels of hell.” Todd pretended to be ignorant of the prank, and assured Marty it couldn’t possibly be Don. “But he called me monkey, and no one else ever called me that. I know it was him.” We continued making calls while James was in the bathroom applying white and dark eye makeup, to make his face look like a corpse. Once we had Marty good and worked up, we told Todd to keep him on the phone while I drove James over there. I put the windows down and parked in front of the house, while James hopped the fence and ran around back to the kitchen door. He stood there a while looking in the window, but Marty had his back to him, so he tried the door knob and when he found it open he threw open the door and screamed. Marty screamed, jumped out of his clogs and dropped the phone. Todd said he could hear it all on the other end of the line. James and I drove home laughing so hard we were crying. Right after that Marty stopped drinking and he stayed sober for almost two years. His mother bailed him out financially by saving his home from foreclosure and buying him a new Cadillac after she made him drive her old beige 1978 Buick Electra for those two years to make sure he wasn’t drinking. James and I said we should start charging for our services, by scaring the shit out of him we did what Betty Ford couldn’t.

After two years he went off the wagon, began drinking again and was back to his old ways. The extravagant spending had stopped because all his money was gone. He soon got another DWI when he plowed his new Cadillac into a car full of people in Odessa one night coming home from the bar. No one was killed thank God, but he was arrested again and the people sued him. He lost everything, the house, the business, and the car. He had to move in with his mother who lived in a tiny town in central Texas. Todd and James had their phone blocked where he couldn’t wake them in the middle of the night with his drunken calls anymore. I looked him up on a website recently and saw where he’d gotten a couple more DWIs, I honestly don’t know how he’s still alive. He had so much going for him and he threw it all away.

Monday, March 8, 2010

ESP

Car accidents in small towns are nothing new, but they do make local news. I remember one in particular in the small town of Lampasas in the early seventies. One was where a teenage boy had a fight with his girlfriend one night and on his way home to the town of Lometa crashed his car head on into a tree on the side of the road killing him instantly. He had a red Plymouth Duster and when it was towed to the local impound lot cars were lined up around the block to view the mangled wreckage through the chain link fence. There were rumors that he’d committed suicide because of the argument with the girl, some said he was drunk, some just said he must’ve fallen asleep at the wheel. None the less, it was sad and tragic for a young man to loose his life in such a manner.

Not long after that my brother Danny wrecked his car. We were barely scraping by and he only had liability insurance on it, so when my dad, who was the night sergeant on the Lampasas Police Department dropped him off at our little pizza place and told me to watch him in case he went into shock I was really pissed. He was in a residential area of town and had jumped the curb and driven the car across a vacant lot into a tree head on totaling his red 1966 Mustang.

We were living in our trailer on my grandparent’s farm and had to drive sixteen miles each way. This was during the first oil embargo and it was costing us a fortune just to get to work and back. I asked, “So, what are you going to drive now?” “I’ll drive mother’s Mercury.” he said. Then I was really pissed, I had to drive my old beat up 1967 Thunderbird and beg for gas money although I was working for my mother and he was going to get to drive a better car than I did. I was so furious that I reached for the phone to call mother to tell her what he’d done. Just as I did I realized we hadn’t had our phone connected yet and as I hung up the receiver I pictured myself walking down the hall to my parent’s bedroom flipping on the light and saying, “Danny wrecked his car.” My mother asking, “Is he alright?” “Yes, but his car is totaled.” I just knew she’d be as furious as I was he was constantly tearing things up, and since he was on the football team he didn’t have an after school job. Once he’d pissed someone off at school and they broke all the windows in his Mustang. I had to go around to the wrecking yards and find used glass to replace it with, my mother paid for it and a friend of his installed it, while he sat on the porch and watched. He always had some strange ability to get people to do things for him. He never had to lift a finger to get someone to do his bidding. While I was busy chewing his ass out he just sat and stared into space. I’d made him a Coke and he took a few sips and said, “Someone jerked the wheel out of my hand and drove that car into that tree.” “What do you mean someone jerked the wheel out of your hand, who was in the car with you?” I asked. “No one.” he said. “Well, if no one was with you, then how could someone jerk the wheel out of your hand?” I asked. “I’m telling you that’s what happened. I was just driving down the street and someone jerked the wheel out of my hand and drove the car into that tree.” he said. I told him, “That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard of, no one’s going to believe that crock of shit. Who was it, a ghost?” “Maybe.” he said. “You know that new girl I had the date with tonight?” I said, “Not really, why?” “Well she’s the girl that kid who got killed last month was dating the night he crashed his car into that tree on his way home.” He said. That gave me chills, my brother was pretty much a no nonsense kind of guy and wasn’t apt to make something like that up.

That wasn’t the only strange occurrence of the evening. When we drove home after I’d shut down the restaurant my mother was waiting up for us and said she knew about the wreck. I asked her, “How did you know what happened when the phone isn’t even connected?” She said, “Your grandfather drove down here and told me, but I already knew about it.” “How did you know?” I asked. “You came down the hall and told me.” she said. “What do you mean I came down the hall and told you?” I asked. “Just that, I was almost asleep and you walked into my room and told me that Danny had wrecked his car. I asked you if he was alright and you said yes, but his car was totaled. I couldn’t go to sleep after that and when I heard a car pull up and a door slam I thought it was one of you boys getting home, but there was a knock on the door and it was your grandfather who told me. I wasn’t upset at all because you’d already told me he was alright.” She said. I’ve asked her about that several times through the years, was it a dream and was she asleep? She’s always just said, “You came down the hall and told me.”

Monday, March 1, 2010

MONSTER IN THE CLOSET

When I was a child I was afraid of everything. I believed that there was a skeleton under my bed. Therefore whenever I had to get up in the night it required that I stand up in my bed and leap as far away as I could, so the skeleton couldn’t reach its boney hand out and grab my ankle and pull me under the bed to some unforeseen, horrible doom.

Just as real was the monster in my closet, with fur and red glowing eyes and the vampires outside my bedroom window just waiting for me to let them in to suck the blood from my neck and make me one of them. This was way before the days of Ann Rice where being a vampire was a fashion statement.

To top it off were the cheap “B” movies of the era where spider like things from outer space could attach themselves to your spinal cord and although you appeared to be normal they’d taken over your life and things that looked like part of the rock mountain you were climbing, that would reach out and wrap their rock like arms around you while you were navigating a narrow uphill trail. I’d seen all these things while sitting in the back of our station wagon at the drive in movie during the previews on dollar night. Somehow it made them worse just catching those terrible glimpses of things rather than seeing the whole silly, stupid movie. “Frozen in terror! Paralyzed with fear!” were by words you always heard in the previews for those cheesy “B” type films, but I’d never experienced any of those feelings in reality.

I was sure that if Dracula or some other kind of horrible monster were chasing me I could run like the wind and get away from it. I wouldn’t be like those silly pointed breasted women with those cone shaped bras, who ran away from monsters in stiletto heels and pencil skirts pausing every twenty feet to look back and make sure the monster was still chasing them and then if they got too far ahead of the monster they’d fall down and allow it to catch up to them. I would be much smarter than they were.
Then there was that handsome and incredibly pretty Kevin McCarthy and those “Pod People” and God only knows “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” I worried about that one for years after seeing the broken doll face in a preview at the drive in movie along with the squeal of the tires and that shrill scream. “Mama what happened to baby Jane?” I asked. “Nothing, be quiet and go back to sleep.” she said. I knew something had happened to “Baby Jane” or there wouldn’t have been all that fuss, but I didn’t find out what happened to her until I was in my twenties.

Then there was “Physco” after the cartoons were over and the cartoon hot dogs, popcorn, candy and soft drinks, danced their way off the screen I was bored to tears, so I fell asleep, but for some reason when Vera Miles went into the basement to confront Norman’s mother and she spun that wheel chair around to see that empty eye socket mummy and screamed causing the single over head light bulb swing to back and forth accompanied by those shrieking violins. I was suddenly wide awake and upright in the back seat of our 1960 Corvair to see what happened. That scene has played over and over again in my mind a million times to this very day. Shit a Monkey! Therefore it became my nightly ritual before going to bed of making sure my closet doors were closed, the space underneath my bed was empty, and I always lay in bed on my back with the covers tucked underneath my chin and over my shoulders, I figured I had all the bases covered. The “rules” were that if the closet doors were closed no monsters could get out. If I slept on my back the spider things couldn’t attach themselves to my spinal cord and if the bedroom windows were closed a vampire couldn’t get in. Even if he did I would wake up as he tried to pull the covers from around my neck to suck my blood and I could run, or scream for help, so I was as safe as I could be.

In 1967 when we lived in Germany. I realized one night after I’d gone to bed that I had to have a permission slip signed and some money to go on a field trip the next day. It was one of the few times in our lives that my brother and I had separate bedrooms. Knowing that my mother wasn’t good at remembering such things. I got out of bed and walked into the living room where both my parents were reading to remind them that I not only needed money for the next day, but a signed permission slip as well. They told me to go back to bed and they would take care of it in the morning. I realized that my mother didn’t always have the money in her purse for such things and I was worried. I kept on making her promise me that she would have the money the next day. I didn’t want any embarrassing moments when I had to explain to the teacher that I didn’t have my money, or the signed permission slip. Such things didn’t seem to faze my mother they just weren’t important to her and when at the last minute before going to school I had to nag her I got a hate filled lecture while she was digging through her purse for change all the while telling me that she was having a hard time paying the rent, the car payment, or the electric bill. There were many mornings that I left for school crying and at the age of seven because I was sure that the thirty five cents I’d asked for was going to be the reason our car was repossessed, or it would be my fault because the electricity had been cut off. I had to be a horrible, selfish, little boy to ask for something as frivolous as lunch money. That night she told me, “Go back to bed and leave me alone, I’ll do it in the morning”. I didn’t like it, I didn’t believe her. It would be hell in the morning, another battle, another scene, and I dreaded it.

I went back to bed, crawled under the covers and tucked myself in with my nightly ritual of sheet tucking. It also included a ritual scan of the room every few minutes to make sure nothing had changed until I finally fell asleep. As I scanned the room I noticed that my closet door was slightly ajar. That just couldn’t be! The door was tightly closed when I’d made my nightly check of the room. Not only was it ajar, but it was open about an inch. This bothered me a lot, but I was too scared to get up and shut it again, so I decided I was just being silly and would just have to go to sleep with it open. After closing my eyes and trying to go to sleep I did my second scan of the room. This time the door was opened at least two inches. This couldn’t be happening! I was sure it had only been opened an inch seconds before, so my eyes were transfixed on that door and as I watched the opening grew even wider. Two inches, three inches, four inches, slowly it was opening before my terrified eyes as I watched in horror waiting to see the red glowing eyes looking at me from inside my closet. I wanted to scream, to run, to leap out of bed and get out of that room, but my body was made of lead. I was “Frozen in terror! Paralyzed with fear! “I couldn’t move, scream, or yell for help. After what seemed like an eternity it took every ounce of energy I could muster to get my body which felt like it weighed a thousand pounds out of that bed and into the living room. Even then all I could manage to do was stand there in my underwear and do a sort of jumping jack motion with no sound coming out of my mouth. My parents looked at me like I’d just landed from a space ship, lost my mind, or was having some kind of epileptic fit their mouths open and eyes wide. Just then my brother walked out of my room in his underwear laughing. Then my parent’s having realized something had happened involving him scaring the holy shit out of me started laughing too. I was so pissed off all I wanted to do was pulverize the little shit. Since everyone else in the house was laughing all I could do was pretend it was mildly amusing to me and go back to bed. I can assure it was visions of a long drawn out murder that danced in my head that night.
“Vision’s Of Sugar Plumbs” didn’t have a fucking thing to do with it.