Wednesday, September 29, 2010

places: with Camille

I loved Camille.  I had told her so several times.  She said she loved me too, but there was something behind her eyes that ventured me to think that it wasn't real.  I quit telling her because I didn't want to feel the doubt.  She said the words,  I don't want to second guess a good thing.

My hours were irregular, but I had plenty of time to spend with her.

Looking at myself in a cracked mirror, I was sure of what I wanted.  I wanted Camille.  I wanted a wife and kids - the lot.  Being around her made me think that that life was a possibility.  I never had a woman like that.  Never dreamed it possible that I'd be longing for a normal life.  It wasn't too long ago that I thought guys that fell hard for dames were saps.  Looking at the dusty reflection, I smiled at myself.

We walked to the park.  We held hands.  We talked.  As soon as we are away from this city, I'm going to ask her. I'm going to take her to some place where average people live and raise families.  I want to let the past fade, let the old man die.

I am a sap.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

places: names and no names

Clayton paid me well.  I had no complaints. He wasn't one for small talk. I could tell that he wasn't close to anyone and no one was going to have any luck pal'in up to him.  That didn't bother me, just so long as I got paid.

As time passed I fell into the routine, and the tension subsided.  The gun stayed in my pocket and I gave little thought as to what was in those parcels we were delivering.  Like Clayton told me that first night, I drove where I was told.

Though I had never been asked to go to the doorstep on a delivery, I got the idea that those we delivered to were safe.  As it turned out, there were only about six drop-off points.  After the first month of working, I could have driven to each location blindfolded.

Clayton pretty much stayed at his home.  He had other guys working for him, but for some reason I was kept separate.  I was never paid with them.  Rod was the only guy that I was around.  He eased up on me after I got the hang of the job.  The first few weeks, while I was getting a hang of the job,  he used to mumble obscenities at me.

There is this guy at Clayton's place.  He was always there.  He never acknowledged me.  He's usually smoking outside around the house, as if keeping watch.  I'd also see him hanging outside the door of Clayton's office.  Sometimes he'd be in there with Clayton.  Anytime I enter the room,  the Russian would exit.  I've heard him talk from the next room.  His voice was always low and I never tried to make out conversations.  I did recognize the dialect.  We were never introduced. I had the feeling from the get go that it wouldn't be a good idea to ask any questions, or make small talk. I never knew his name.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Marx sings about a Marxist

A Marx sings about a Marxist.

'Obama's Afghanistan Strategy : as sung by Groucho Marx'  
This looked to me to be something right up Brooky's alley.
Don't forget to read the article.

places: back to the unknown

I was the driver. It had rained most of the day, and it was still drizzling in the city.  A guy named Rod sat in the back right corner of the backseat. He wore a trench-coat, and fedora, and a tired look on his face.  

Rod looked as though he'd been delivering packages all his life.  He gave short instructions like "straight", "turn right here", and then "pull in here".

When he got out of the car, he told me to "Turn the headlights off and keep the motor running."

I did what he told me.

He closed the car door and took a leather satchel with him.  He poked his head in through the passenger window.  "Stay in the car,keep your eyes open and honk if you see anyone nosing about."

"Will do."

The car idled but my mind raced.  I pulled the gun from my coat pocket and slid it under the paper.  I didn't know what to expect.  I couldn't help the cold sweat.  I don't like sitting down with my back to the unknown. What next?

Though I am very familiar with the feeling of uncertainty, I never got used to it.  My palms were wet. I dried them off continuously.  I wanted to hold the gun.  I wanted Rod what's-his-name to hurry up. I checked the side-view and rear-view mirror constantly.  I like to at least have an edge.  I had the jitters.

I used to be the guy in the darkness.  I used to be the guy who did his dirty work from the distance.  I don't like this openness.  I'd rather be watching from afar.  I wish he'd hurry up.

I rolled down the passenger window to breath more of the night air.  The door opened and Rod got in.  I was startled.  I didn't want him to see me rattled.  He said, "DRIVE" with a commanding urgency in his voice.  Nervous, I fumbled for the keys and the car made the kind of noise that a car makes when one tries to start it when it's aleady started.

"Idiot.", came the voice from the backseat.

I got my act together and the car lurched forward.  I quickly turned the wheel and we could both hear my .38 hit the floorboard.

I looked in the mirror to see Rod shaking his head and rolling his eyes.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

places: for hire

We met at his house. Camille accompanied me for the introduction, but instinctively left the room, leaving the two of us alone.  From the greeting, Mr. Clayton didn't seem to treat Camille like an old friend. He stayed behind his desk and quickly shook my hand.  He was rather stoic, down to business, and to the point. 

"Camille tells me you need a job and I have a position for you."
"I came without a resume'"
He didn't look up from his desk much.  He spent most of his time fingering an unlit cigar in his hand.
Clayton said, "You'll do."  He glanced up at me, "You know how to drive a car?  Make some deliveries?"
"Yeah, I can drive, but I don't have a car."
"I've got a car, you just go where I tell you to go - do what I tell you to do."
"Okay, but these deliveries, do these deliveries involve anything illegal?"
He paused a bit to light his cigar, slow draw and exhale the smoke slowly.
"You want the job?"
He reached into his desk drawer and placed some keys on his desktop.
He then reached into his side drawer and pulled out a .38
I hesitated on picking up the keys and the piece.
"Pick them up if you want the job.  Leave them and go if you don't."
"I want a job, but why the gun?"
"Look, all you have to do is drive around and make deliveries.  You'll basically be sitting in the car the whole time.  The gun is to protect the parcels.  I'm not saying it's a safe job - but it's a job that I will pay you well for doing.  The money's good and you can quit anytime you want."

He smoked his cheroot as he rolled it in his fingers.  He stared up at me waiting for an answer.  After a few moments, I picked up the keys and the gun and put them in my pocket.
"Good"  He stood up to shake my hand. "Be here tomorrow night and be ready to go by 6:30."  He led me to the door and opened it.  "One of the keys fits your ride at the end of the driveway.  Take it with you and use it and treat it like it's yours."
"Just come when I call you, never leave me waiting."
Clayton reached into his pocket, "Oh yeah, I'll go ahead and advance you some money."  She said you guys just got into town last night."  I took what he offered without counting. I looked over at Camille who had been sitting out in the parlor.
Clayton turned to walk back into his office, "See you tomorrow Mr. Knight - 6:30 - sharp."
Camille was quiet as we walked out the door and down the sidewalk.  I opened the car door for her.
"How did it go?", she asked.
I have a job, an advance, a car, and a .38.
She checked her lipstick in the rear-view mirror. "Well, that's a start."
I felt the weight of the gun in my coat pocket.  I was startled by her nonchalant attitude about me packing some heat.
"Who is this guy?  How do you know him?"

"It's another story."  She leaned into me as I pulled out the driveway. She whispered, "Let's go somewhere for a drink.  I haven't danced in a long time."
"Sure thing baby."

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

places: waiting

We stepped out from the shadow of the station.  She put her hand on mine.
"Will you find a place to wait?  I need call Mr. Clayton and see if he can meet with me."
"Do you want me to come with you?"
"No. No, it would be better if I met with him first."
"Is he your rich uncle or something?
"No. I used to work for him. I once did a favor for him.  He once offered to return the favor."
I asked her if she was sure she wanted to use up her favor on me.
She kissed my cheek and looked directly into my eyes. "This is for us Johnny."
She reached into her bag and emptied her change purse into my hand, "Go get some coffee and maybe I'll be back in an hour or two with some good news.  Go ahead and get something to eat."
"I can wait for you baby."  I pointed to the joint on the corner, "I'll wait for you over there."
I waited there for three hours while the proprietor gave me plenty of hard looks. I kept thinking to myself that maybe this friend wasn't going to come through for her.  The longer I sat there, the more my mind started to weave bad scenarios.  I started to wonder if she was going to even come back at all.  No.  She's not that late, she's probably just talking old times. What KIND of old times? I sat there trying not to get too nervous, realizing at that moment that I was already feeling jealous about her.  She wasn't that late.  I just need to be a little patient and cool my heels.

About the time I got myself good and stirred up, I heard a small bell jingle.  I looked up and glad to see her walking through the doorway.  I wasn't about to tell her all the crazy ideas that had been running between my ears. 

She sat down.  "Have you eaten?"
"No sugar, just a cup of joe."
"I am sorry it took me so long Johnny, but I have some good news.  Mr. Clayton will meet with you tomorrow."
"I've got money for a hotel."
"He gave you money?"
She smiled. "He's a old friend Johnny. We're going to be okay."

Monday, September 20, 2010

places: easy sleep

Having been an orphan, I was used to being in crowds, in lines, surrounded by noise.  I've slept in dorms, barracks, trenches and trains. 

Sleeping on trains was easy for me, even when all us G.I.'s were herded to and fro during the war. Even then, I could always sleep like a baby.  The steady sound of the wheels on rails have always played for me like a lullaby.

I thought I heard her ask me a question, but I nodded and paid her no mind.

The rhythmical sound kept my head under, let me dream of all the places I had been, all merged together.  I revisited faces of friends gone, still living somewhere in my head.  Jim was there. Talking like he'd never died.  Talking like there was still a future. We had plans. We still met, still talk about them.

Walls fell and I lost sight of him.
 Noises, smells, muffled cries, and the rhythm kept pushing me down into another corner of dreams.

Mother was there. I was only a child and yet I can still recognize her face. I can't recall her voice though.  She never speaks here, always at a distance, but I know it's her.
I've heard people talk about bad dreams - their nightmares. I don't have them. Maybe it's because the places sleep takes me isn't as horrific as the places I've been. Dreams are filled with ghosts that speak but can not touch. I've seen the monsters in my life.

It's during the waking hours, my mind reminds me of the bad things I have seen.  And the bad things I have done. So I welcome dreams.

Rhythm and sleep takes me to the end of the line.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

places: beginnings

I went there for the job.  
I went there for her.
There was nothing about the place that I liked.  I could never see myself settling there, but she told me she had friends, a town where we could do good.

I didn't realize that demons can follow where ever you go.  They don't pay tolls.  They find you.  They know where you are, and how to play the scene around you. I've learned that no matter where you go, they'll come knock on your door.

I was  foolish to think that the new scenery would change things.  I was foolish to go to a place I'd never been.  I wasn't thinking ahead, I was looking at her lips and lost in her eyes.

The streets of the town I came from had led me nowhere.  I was living with no options and no plans. I was tired. My luck to that point was thinner than a railroad penny.  So I hitched myself onto her optimism. She was the only bright spot so far.  It was her idea to go.  It was her smile that lured me.

I spent what I had for a pack of smokes and train fare. We left together.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Who are you - who - WHO?

Since the recent Pew poll (and various other reasons), the media has been trying to correct a misconception that Obama is in fact a Christian.  The White House was forced to release a statement stating that the president is in fact a "mainstream Christian".

Yesterday my friend, Tim Rolfe posted Obama stating he was indeed a Christian in a recent televised interview on MSNBC.

Lest we forget the goofed interview on CNN a while back in which Obama  did that ' my my Christian faith' Freudian Slip-up with George Snuffleupagus. Here's the obvious question for most 'mainstream' Christians out there.  When was the last time you accidentally called yourself a Muslim?  It was considerate for George to jump in and help correct Obama when he did.

I also started what I call an image/discussion thread today after my an old friend posted this as his status "I find it strangely ironic that much of the Christian right is hailing Glen Beck as a hero of the faith after the DC rally and he is Mormon but continue to spread the lie that the President is Muslim."  

The ongoing question has been stirring me today, just who is Obama. 

I think people have a legitimate reason to wonder if the president is a Muslim.  It hasn't really been proven to me that he isn't a Muslim.  He definately has a very pro-Muslim agenda, especially when it comes to Israel.  

It seems much of the media did what it does best, and that's bastardize the news, rather than simply report it.  They tried to do a hatchet job with Franklin Graham's remarks concerning the Obama's faith question.  Here is what he had to say about it...

"Asked by King (John King,CNN afte.r the Pew poll) if he, too, has doubts about the president's faith, Graham said that Obama’s “problem is he was born a Muslim.”

“The seed is passed through the father,” Graham said. “He was born a Muslim. His father was a Muslim; the seed of Muslim is passed through the father like the seed of Judaism is passed through the mother. He was born a Muslim; his father gave him an Islamic name.”

Graham, the son of evangelist Billy Graham, acknowledged that Obama has said he is a Christian.

"He has renounced Islam, and he has accepted Jesus," Graham said. “That's what he has said he has done. I cannot say that he hasn't, so I just have to believe the president is what he has said.”

“But the confusion is because his father is a Muslim; he was born a Muslim. The Islamic world sees the president as one of theirs. That's why Qadhafi calls him his son. They see him as a Muslim,” he added. “But, of course, the president says he is a Christian, and we just have to accept it as that.”
-Franklin Graham 

The following my comment on Rolfe's thread...

"Notice how Obama says that he's a Christian, but quotes from the Koran more than he references the Word of God. Notice also how he continually sides with Islam over Israel. Look at the fruit.

IF Obama IS a Christian - he a very twisted faith. Check out the term 'collective salvation'.

"Because our individual salvation depends on collective salvation"
- II Obama 3:16

Jeremiah Wright taught Black Liberation Theology. Black theology calls for political liberation rather than spiritual liberation. Black theology turns religion into sociology.

If what is prescribed for mankind is political liberation - I can understand why Obama tried to enter our lives in messianic fashion. -df

I reposted it at my site along with the following:

The following quotes are from from a Chicago Sun-Times interview published April 5, 2004:

"I believe that there are many paths to the same place, and that is a belief that there is a higher power, a belief that we are connected as a people."... -Barack Obama

"It's perhaps an unlikely theological position for someone who places his faith squarely at the feet of Jesus to take, saying essentially that all people of faith - Christians, Jews, Muslims, animists, everyone -- know the same God." -Barack Obama

-Jesus Christ, The Son of the Living God
In the above Obama quotes, though he professes Christianity,he takes a radically dangerous stance against the very words of Jesus.

If he is a Christian. He is either spiritually immature, seriously ignorant regarding scripture, or he is lying about who he is.

Here's something else Jesus said.

"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven."
-Jesus Christ, The Judge of ALL

While driving across town today to pick up the girls from school, I had this thought.   If indeed that "many paths lead to the same place" and  that essentially "all faiths lead to the same God".  Perhaps he feels he can claim the right to call himself a Christian, or  a Muslim, or a Hindu, (whatever) because it's the same God.  No matter, it's not Christian doctrine.  What Obama believes as a Christian is in direct opposition to the words of Jesus.  Only Jesus is the way.

"There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death." "Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it" -Matthew 7:13-14

Thursday, September 2, 2010

what's up?

I am still coughing from sucking in all the kitchen demolition from last Sunday.  I am answering the phone at the office and can not talk without coughing. gag.

My Martin is still at Gadsden Music.  I have missed it.  The little tailpiece that the strap and 1/4" jack had come unloose.  My arm was too fat to reach into the wafer thin body of the guitar to tighten.  Danny Moon said that he would give it a shot, but couldn't promise anything.  I don't think he had the tool..  He emailed me with good news yesterday, it's fixed.  I am just looking for the time to pick it up.  Danny not only knows his stuff, but is a sweetheart of a guy.

I've been doing the same old same old.  Yesterday, our 20th, we did the same.  It was a pleasant day, but passed without a celebration.  Hopefully we'll do something this weekend to celebrate our wonderful marriage.  We'll see.

My '73 Super-beetle gave me some trouble yesterday.  It was idling too high and the accelerator pedal was sticking.  I noticed the weirdness after having been almost run off the road by a lady who was changing into my lane without looking.  Nothing was going on at the office after lunch so Gina urged me to drive over to Floyd VW and have him look at it.  Eddie Floyd is a great guy.  He got the car sounding like a VW should sound again.  I took it home and gave it a bath and a wax before picking up the girls from school.

When we got home, Katie and Kelsey went into homework mode and didn't need me.  I spent the time before Gina returned home to finish screwing in the sub-floor for the tile.  I got out of the kitchen in time to get out of Gina and Katie's way so they could cook dinner.  Shrimp Alfredo and Garlic Cheese biscuits.

Gina and I spent the remainder of the evening watching the last two episodes of season 3 of 24.  Gina went to bed, and I went into my study and worked late into the night polishing up a new song.  I played till I was too tired to play.   Though it was a busy day, I never feel more satisfied or productive than to have finished a new song.

I look forward to getting my Martin back.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

20 years ago today

We are older now, but the love is the same.  

The above photo was taken the weekend I proposed to Gina.  I woke up that Friday morning with her on my mind.  I knew the day wasn't going to end without asking her.  She was working in Chattanooga at the time and so I took off from work a little early to drive out there.

I love Gina.  I love the life that has followed since she said 'I do'.

She woke me with a kiss this morning, and sang 'Happy anniversary baby - I've got you on my mind'.

The day so far looks full.  I don't perceive having time to do anything special today, just working with that someone special.  When the workday ends, we'll go home and help with homework, prep diner and I'll work on the kitchen floor while Gina puts Kelsey to bed.  Even though its more than likely going to play out like a typical school night, I am grateful for every day I have with Gina and my girls.