EVERY DAY ABOVE GROUND (Chapter 3)

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EVERY DAY ABOVE GROUND

Chapter 3

May, 1985

MOM

        Through a wine glass, darkly,

snapshot words

start with the sky

scrubbed blue

where flags of the County and of the State snap

into the wind like salmon whipping upstream.

The flag pole ropes slap slap

slap slap

slap slap.

.

.

.

Seagulls above pump slow motion

against the wind

.   .  .  against the wind

the tidal backwater stretches,

surface pocked and ruffled,

toward the hillside ridged in trees,

tops torn bare

.  .  .  .  .  .  against the wind

.

.

Mustard Flowers shiver

in golden ripples up and down upon the hillside,

muted in the fine mist

banged by sunlight from the slate ocean.

.

.

Behind gates gnawed by salt,

oil-pumps graze

unfazed upon the hillside up and down,

black iron hammers pounding down into the dark liquid remains of a forest pressed deep underground.

.

.

Shadows stretch under the wind and the weight of the setting sun.

.

.

The coastal traffic rolls back and forth,

targets in an arcade,

shots of sunbeams

strike, flash, ricochet

toward the edge of my wine glass

pressing me into a river of twilight

on the edge of my world.

.

.

.

January 24, 1989, Tuesday

DAD

        Last Saturday afternoon your mother and I decided to just DO IT and visit Great Grandma Siegers, down south.  Your mother was up almost all of that night, wrapping little gifts, and ironing, and what else I don’t know because I went to bed.  She joined me at 4:15 a.m. for about a half-hour of sleep.

At 7:00 a.m. we called a taxi and we were driven via the freeway to the Santa Barbara train depot.  The weather here in Goleta had been clear and sunny but near the Santa Barbara train depot there was thick coastal fog.  The train, due to depart at 7:50 a.m. (and usually late), was already at the station and there was a slow line of people buying tickets (we were next-to-last in line).  We purchased two round-trip tickets for $58 and got on board with minutes to spare.

We went to the smoking-car, which had only about five other people (the non-smoking car was crowded).  Your mother sat beside the window, finishing her make-up.  I went forward to the café-car and bought a cinnamon roll, a cheese-Danish, and two cups of coffee.

The coastal fog advanced and retreated along the coastal cliffs.  Your mother pulled the courtesy-tray down from the back of the seat in front of her and continued wrapping little gifts as we passed through Ventura, Oxnard, Simi Valley, Los Angeles, and finally arrived at the Fullerton station.

Grandma Phyllis met us at the Fullerton station.  We were in need of “real” food and more coffee after so little sleep, so we all went to The Cracker Barrel after several miles of indecision.  We ordered two eggs over-easy, pancakes, an omelet, a waffle, onion rings, coffee, and, and, and… The table was piled with food and cigarettes.

Great Grandma Siegers is living at Farmdale Convalescent Home since she fell at Great Uncle Harold and Great Aunt Marge’s house, breaking her hip.  In the lobby, Grandma Phyllis signed our names into the registration book (which I saw, and your mother returned to find, confirming her suspicion).  I scribbled our names away later.

Down the long hallway was that distinctive smell, that damp stink of medicine and bed sheets and bedpans.  Turning right down another hallway we met women in wheelchairs, restrained by straps around their waists, staring.

I didn’t recognize Great Grandma Siegers watching us in the hallway.  Her eyes were bright but she didn’t really recognize your mother or me, at least at first.  Her hair was somehow different (it was a wig that Great Aunt Marge had needed to buy for her when one of the attendants cut off almost all of Great Grandma Siegers’ hair).

Great Grandma Siegers really enjoyed opening your mother’s gifts: powder, lipstick, a mirror, a pink gown embroidered with flowers on the big pockets, and several bright ribbons for her hair.

We had to put ribbons in the hair of another woman because she started to cry in the hallway, watching us.  Great Grandma Siegers’ roommate also got a ribbon as she lay in bed unable to get into a wheelchair.

There was a gospel sing-along being sponsored in the recreation room and so to there we wheeled Great Grandma Siegers who then only wished to stay for one weak version of “Amazing Grace”.

We didn’t want to leave too soon even though Grandma Phyllis seemed eager to get out of there but what can you do at a place like that for very long?  Great Grandma Siegers was hard-of-hearing.  What could we talk about?  We asked her if she wanted us to wheel her around so she could “show us around the place”.  She said yes but after we began to head down another wing of the place she became disconcerted, saying “No, this isn’t right.”

We returned to “her room” and talked awhile, watching the other old people slowly wheel themselves in and out of other rooms up and down the hallway.

We returned Great Grandma Siegers to the recreation room one more time for a cone of vanilla ice-cream which she seemed to enjoy.

Back again to her room, just outside in the hallway, we said good-bye, walking away down the long hallway, turning to wave.  She was smiling, waving (we joked that having to visit with people like us would help her to sleep).

In the lobby we ran into Great Aunt Marge and her daughter Sandy just arriving.  I felt better that someone else was visiting (“Changing of the Guard” I thought).  We talked briefly about theft in that convalescent home.

Grandma Phyllis drove us to her house in Norwalk where we were treated to chips, dip, wine and cigarettes.  Your mother and I tried to coax Grandma Phyllis’s cat Champagne out from under her bed but ever since Grandma Phyllis had left him overnight at the veterinarian’s to be neutered he was distrustful.

Grandma Phyllis, for some reason, called Aunt Judy and Uncle Steve and got them to agree to come over.  They had just finished a softball game and they were watching Super Bowl XXIII (San Francisco 49’ers and the Cincinnati Begals).

I called them back and told them that this was no Christmas Day and that we had come down to see Great Grandma Siegers and that we in no way expected everyone to uproot just to say ‘Hi’ to us.

They came anyway.  And so did Aunt Carol (nicknamed “Weester” because that is how your mother pronounced “Sister” when she was a child) but Aunt Carol’s husband Jim had refused to leave his TV.  Grandma Phyllis called Uncle Billy but he had guests over at his apartment watching the Super Bowl game.  He asked me over the phone, “Why did you pick today to come down?”

Uncle Steve, Aunt Judy, Cousin “little” Steve (junior), Cousin Mark, Aunt Carol, Grandma Phyllis, your mother and I snacked on crackers and cheese, olive, celery and chips while we talked, laughed and watched the Super Bowl game.

Your mother and I had to return to the Fullerton station by 6:45 p.m. but this time, as I got in line to ask when the train was really expected, I overheard that the north-bound was an hour and a half late.  So instead of leaving at 6:50 p.m. we were looking at nearly 8:30 p.m.  That meant getting home to the Santa Barbara station at around midnight.

Well, we snacked and smoked and talked for that hour and a half and then said good-bye and thanks to Grandma Phyllis.  The train arrived and then we were homeward bound, napping as best we could, nearly exhausted (your mother had gone with only half an hour of sleep for the last 36 hours).  We made it and we were glad that we had finally done it.

There was a lot to think about.

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SAVING JESUS

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SAVING JESUS

 

        I am Ángel Nagual.  I will be a man soon.  My village, Campo de la Estrella (Field of the Star), was once a Spanish Misión (Mission) before the break with Spain a generation ago.  The Spanish priests were persecuted after the revolution.  My village now keeps our own faith in our own homes.

        Into my village one late afternoon walked a poor man with his woman holding a child.  My father, Patecatl , met these strangers outside of the old Capilla (Chapel).  The red tiles of that Capilla were molded and baked by my people when they were slaves.

        The man says to my father, “I am José Jacobeo.  This is my wife María.”

        Patecatl, my father, observes, “This is a hard road to travel on foot with a woman and a child.”

        The man, José, says, “It is a hard road even with a horse.  Our horse was killed by a puma.”

        The woman, María, speaks up into the conversation of men, saying, “God, himself, compels our journey.”

        My father says wryly, “Do you flee your God?”

        José glances over his shoulder and he says, “God is our strength.”

        María says urgently, “We flee Poncio Pilato.”

        My father is surprised and then he smiles, saying, “Poncio Pilato is only a story that bandidos tell to their children when they are disobedient.”

        The child in María’s arms begins to cry.

        My father leans over the child and he whispers sweetly, “My name is Patecatl, little one.  What is your name?”

        María says, “We have named him Jesus.”

        My father raises his eyes to María’s gaze.

        José says, “For protection.”

        María pleads, “We need a place to rest.”

        My father reflects upon their fear and their supplication and he says finally, “Of course.  Of course.  The old Church is used for our livestock, but the altar stage is free and clean.  Please.  You are welcome to stay as long as you feel you must.”

        Then my father turns to me and says, “Ángel, see to our guests, please.”

        I lead José and María with their child Jesus into the old Church.  The sheep and the goats stir in the straw.  Chickens roost in the rafters and up on the old cast-iron arañas de luces (literally, spiders of lights, chandeliers).  On the altar stage I spread clean straw for them.  I leave them a basket for Jesus and a clay jar of water upon the altar.  María places little Jesus into the basket upon a mound of straw.  She covers her face.  José comes to her side and holds her in a comforting embrace.  I leave them to their privacy.

        I return to my father in our room in the old Capilla.  I ask him, “Father, who is Poncio Pilato?”

        My father shakes his head slowly and says, “Poncio Pilato is a legend among the mestizos (half-breeds).  He is a demon bandido, the saint of outlaws.”

        I ask, “Is he like Yaotl (Aztec god, Sewer of Discord)?”

        My father grimaces and says, “No.  No, Yaotl rewards the valiant even as he is the patron of discord.  Poncio Pilato is like the Spaniard’s Devil, or should I say, like the Devil’s son,” then my father snorts, “ …like the Spanish priests.”

        I finally ask, “Why would Poncio Pilato chase two poor people and their child?”

        My father answers me with a patient smile, saying, “He wouldn’t,” and then he offers me in consolation, “Unless they have something he wants.”  Then my father pauses and he says to himself, “Or they have taken something from him.”

        The sunset is blood red and my father observes, “There is a dust storm to the West.”

        We hear a scream.  It is María!

        My father and I run from the Capilla onto the altar stage.  There José is restraining María who reaches screaming toward the child in the basket upon the altar.

        My father hollers, “What is wrong…?” but in that instant we see the scorpions!

        An army of black scorpions is scaling the altar, climbing onto the child’s basket.  The scorpions halt their advance in a halo radiating around the child Jesus.  The innocent child is enchanted by his wiggling visitors and he laughs with delight and he reaches for the nearest scorpions.  The scorpions raise their claws but they remain just out of the reach of Jesus.

        Suddenly a voice rumbles from the road outside the Church, calling, “María!”

        María now faints to the floor in the embrace of José.

        My father hisses, “Wait here!” but I follow him out of the Church to the road.

        There are horsemen shuffling on the dark road.  A man rides forward.  He is enormous.  I gasp when I realize that under his sombrero he is wearing an Aztec sacrificial mask of jade mosaic.  The plaster eyes stare relentlessly.

        My father composes himself and asks, “What do you want from my poor village?”

        The enormous horseman leans forward and says, “I want what is owed to me, priest.  I am Poncio Pilato.”

        My father holds his composure and replies, “I am not a priest.  I am Patecatl, the medicine man.  What do we possess that is owed to Poncio Pilato?”

        Poncio Pilato answers saying, “The child.”

        My father asks boldly, “How is that innocent child ‘owed’ to you?”

        Then the other horsemen ride forward ominously.  Poncio Pilato points to each rider as they come to his side.

        Poncio Pilato says, “This is Despiadado.”

        I realize in horror that his eyes are sewn shut.

        Poncio Pilato says, “This is Avaricio.”

        I see that instead of eyes there are gold coins in his eye sockets.

        Poncio Pilato says, “This is Lujurio.”

        I see that his mouth is elongated like a horse and his lips are enormous and his tongue hangs out.”

        Poncio Pilato concludes stating, “The child is Lujurio’s.  He was enticed by the nun María in her daydream as she pretended to pray,” and Poncio Pilato scoffs, saying, “She was a willing virgin.”

        Behind us I hear José exclaim, “Then it is all true!”

        My father and I turn to see José supporting the unconscious María.

        José ponders out loud, “María said it was a miraculous conception.  She was afraid.  She came to me for protection.  I, I was in love with her before she became a nun.  I didn’t believe her, but I didn’t care.  I still loved her.  But it is all as she told me!”

        Poncio Pilato laughs coarsely and says, “I have heard this story somewhere before!”

        María regains consciousness enough to mutter, “What will you do with my child?”

        Poncio Pilato leans forward and says quietly, “The child belongs to me now,” and then he laughs, “You were a good hen, but this huevo (egg) belongs to me.  Me costo un huevo (literally, it cost me an egg, it cost me a hell of a lot)!

        My father speaks up, “Poncio, tiene huevos (do you have balls) enough to wager?”

        Poncio Pilato sits erect in his saddle and his horse snorts and stamps.

        My father continues, “I wager that you have no power over the child Jesus since he is truly innocent.  I wager that your minions, such as the scorpions, can not harm him because his blood is half evil.”

        Poncio Pilato growls, saying, “Be careful with your last words, medicine man.”

        My father is unafraid, saying, “Only María can give the child to you willingly.  Am I right?  All you can do is terrorize us into forcing María to yield him to you,” and my father turns toward María and stares.

        María is dashed sober by my father’s implications, and she cries, “No!  No, no!” and she pushes herself away from José’s loving grasp.  She runs stumbling back into the Church.  José cries, “María!” and regaining his balance he runs after her.

        I look to my father and he turns to me and says, “Stay where you are.”

        I hear María screaming.  I hear José wailing.

        My father says again, sternly, “Stay.”

        I then see José stumbling back out of the Church and he falls to his knees before my father, wailing and pulling his hair, crying, “María is dead!  She has thrown herself upon the altar and the scorpions devour her!  María!  What have you done?  María!  What have you done, Patecatl?”

        My father turns back to Poncio Pilato who grumbles, “Medicine man, you are as ruthless as Despiadado.”

        My father replies, “But my eyes are sewn open.  Only sacrifice defeats evil.  Only sacrifice is holy.  We own nothing in this world except our will.”

        I am transfixed by the words, by the will of my father.

        José grovels inconsolable in the dust.

        But another rider approaches from the darkness.  I stumble backwards.  It is María!  Or what was once María.

        Upon a horse the color of ash sits an apparition of María.  From her eye sockets flow two springs of tears.  She joins the horsemen of Poncio Pilato.

        Poncio Pilato pronounces, “Her name shall be Lacrimosa,” and he turns to my father and says slyly, “You are very generous with the souls of others.”

        My father replies, “Poncio Pilato, you do not have their souls.  You have only their sins.”

        And then Poncio Pilato and his horsemen rode away with the wind.

        My father welcomed José to stay on with our village, but José was too heartbroken to remain for long.  José left Jesus with my father and my father made me Jesus’s keeper.  Jesus is a little brother to me now and I worry all the time about his fate.

 

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EVERY DAY ABOVE GROUND (Chapter 2)

above ground 2

EVERY DAY ABOVE GROUND

Chapter 2

May 13, 1985

DAD

Word expresses mind like grape into wine.

I wash my voice with wine

in the cool shade upon a russet carpet beside a staff of sunlight with wings of sunshine lit by the finely particulate dust in the air  that alight on my brown wooden chair coiling in mockery of the living vine.

A Forever Afternoon,

yours and mine,

alone in freedom, unwatched,

perhaps heard

searching for my voice

to speak the word.

.

What is this symphony of imagery?

Where in the DNA?

………..Where was I?  Oh, yes, today…

…this is the truth.

It starts from below my belly button, enfoliates,

blossoming in my finger tips, synapsing over these keys

from think to ink.

.

I love the creamy middle

But too much it resembles middle age, pasty, soft

with a hard crust.

I must not do something.

.

This is now today

I’ve seen it before, so I know

when I say:

.

TV: God, Savior, Friend, Dream

no arms, no legs

composed of not stone, yet silicon

poised in perfect function

buried like a sculpture inside

our perfect minds, alone.

.

The world has never known better.

.

What leads to violence?  Violence leads to the Self.

Fear?  Is it fear?  Is it?

He was just an old man, only

he wore a plastic lid for a hat,

a flannel shirt tangled around his gnarly whittled torso…

was it, yes, a dress I say, a ballet tu-tu

wound so neatly about his waist.

He placed the empty brown flask, dotted with sand,

upon the table, in the patio of the Snack Stand

and then he shuffled away with a plastic sack of sticks,

sipping a paper cup of coffee.

That was his mistake.

It was the Snack Stand girl who reported the old man.

.

Hands express word into air, sand, wood,

(sometimes back into jaws again).

Fingerfuck no evil!

.

Poetry

seems to be the net to catch

fingerling thoughts

on their way to spawn words.

Be careful of your own net,

that lattice rhythm

is for the commercial trawler.

.

I’m not being serious,

I’m sorry, and so now I will get back in

line.

.

How many words can I name?

Their fame and clarity

frighten me

(fear leads to violence leads to self, forget).

What do I know?

Little yet.

Except that a family of dolphins

lolls in the scrolling waves.  Waves tatter away,

wiping the sand white.

What a sight!

.

What kind of world can I use?

(what kind of a world have you got?)

My God, think what I forgot!

Feel around the perimeter,

the edge of memory, dark, and overgrown

returning to the unknown

on the way to the nameless.

I hold my head,

knowledge slips through my fingers,

lips flutter,

cries crumble,

a better world

embalmed in a tear

within sight, lingers.

.

What is the point?

Don’t you know?  Don’t you?

Why not?  I’ll show you,

when to do so I shall want

(not to flaunt dipsysyntacky meter

to peter out before today

with only all this

left to say).

.

Carol!  Call Diana.  Call Vicki.

Quickly!

.

Now, without the phone ringing

I can wring these phony words

for all a word’s worth

What is a man without wit?

A braver man?

(a beer stein beckons me

in my hemming

and hawing way).

.

The bright bars of sunlight

rise upon the dark wood of the panel wall.

Sky in the alleyway

turning grey slowly,

beneath notice

ripens with shadow.

.

(What’s on TV?)

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OUT OF THE PARK

man in baseball hat painting 1

        Anything is possible.

Few things are probable.

When something transcends probability it is called a miracle.

I died.

I died while you were yet my little girl.  My sweet little “Sassafras”.  And yet I cannot go on past this moment.  I remain with you always.

Life goes on miraculously and with divine cruelty.  I can see you.  I cannot touch you anymore.  Yet I feel you tenderly the way I once felt my very breath.  You cannot see me anymore.  Yet you feel my nudge whenever you lose your way.

I chose you as my light when I died to the world.

I have become your Guardian Angel, my Sassafras, like the ones in those bedtime stories that I used to read to you.

I feel you thinking, “Where was your Guardian Angel, Daddy?”

Daddy’s Guardian Angel was watching the big game with Daddy and I guess Daddy couldn’t hear him yelling.

Aw, I’m just funning you, Sassafras.

Let’s just say that I pitched myself but Daddy’s Guardian Angel just couldn’t catch me.  Now when I think of myself I am still wearing that Fathers’ Day L.A. Angels‘ baseball cap and my glove.

I had reached way over the upper deck guardrail to catch Satanás’ foul ball for you.  I lost my balance and I fell thirty feet.  It’s a miracle that I didn’t kill someone else as well.  I remember that I walked along through a glare toward your crying.  I just had to tell you I was alright.  I wasn’t alright.  Suddenly I found you.  There you were at my funeral, crying.  And there was your mother who had come back from her new life away from us to be with you.

As have I.

I love you.  How could I have left you to the ruthless charm of this world? Please forgive me, Sassafras.

Hell is to believe in this world.

My darling sweet Sassafras, I can watch you being sculpted by time’s whirling hands.

I remain in the same stilled heart of the vortex.

And now, who is that boy you are with?

Yes, Sassafras, I am that tingle on the back of your neck.

I feel you thinking, “Oh, Daddy.  It’s just Kason from Homeroom.  He plays Junior League Baseball, you know.  His team calls him ‘Kissin’ Kason’.

Oh, don’t worry, Daddy.

Daddy, they call him Kissin’ Kason because when he hits a baseball you can kiss it good-bye.

Daddy, it so is just because he hits a baseball good.  Daddy, it so is just a funny name and I can’t help myself that things just pop up into my mind.

Daddy, Kason’s team says he really knows how to find the ‘sweet spot’.

Daddy!  On the bat!

Daddy, you told me about that yourself, remember?  You will like Kason.  He reminds me of you, Daddy.”

Sassafras, I don’t want you to end up like your mother.  In the end all I ever did was disappoint her.  Except with you.  I used to tease your mother and ask her who your real father was.  I know, I know.  It was just a joke, sweetie.  Your mother would make the silliest sly face and we both laughed until we cried.

I never really needed God except to watch over you and your mother.  I never wanted you to suffer from me being such a lucky fool.  When I was alive I thought God had a plan for me but it was my own self-reflection.

I hit myself out of the park.

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CAPTAIN CATERPILLAR

 caterpillar girl

CAPTAIN CATERPILLAR

           Tony Teufelskatz lived on Maple Street.  He was nine years old.  He had a big head with lots of brown hair.

Tony always wore a Navy SEAL hat.  Tony always used to say that his father had been a Navy SEAL and said that his father had been killed.  The truth is that Tony never knew his father.

Everyone called Tony “Captain Caterpillar” because he always collected caterpillars.  Tony had a big glass aquarium in which he kept the butterflies and moths that the caterpillars turned into.  He would let them go after he apologized to them.

Everyone thought Tony was weird.  You were never sure that he was telling the truth.  But his butterflies and moths knew him.  They fluttered together inside that aquarium to be at the glass nearest where ever Tony stood.  It was weird.  They acted like they loved him but people would say it was only because he fed them.  Tony always asked back how was that any different from any parent’s kids.  Weird.

Tony was ashamed that when he was a child he would catch butterflies and moths and cruelly throw them into spiders’ webs.  One night he dreamt that he was caught in a spider’s web behind his garage and that a giant spider was coming to get him.  Tony now felt the horror of all his victims.  But then in his dream a butterfly girl came to him and asked him to promise that he would never to be cruel again to her family.  Tony cried that he was sorry.  The butterfly girl said that she was sorry too because Tony could only learn from his own fear of dying.  So Tony swore that he would atone with the rest of his life if the butterfly girl could free him.

The butterfly girl said then that Tony could free himself from his cocoon of cruelty anytime he wanted and Tony awoke and was never the same.

Now my poor life is only a caterpillar and my stories are my butterflies.

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THE GOLDEN RULE CLUB

 rainy windshield 1

THE GOLDEN RULE CLUB

Jo Raye, me, and Fasola Tito are sitting together in my parked truck.  Fasola sits between Jo and me on the bench seat.  Fasola wears a skirt.  Jo smokes a clove cigarette.

It is raining gently but we are warm.  Lady Gaga is singing You and I on the radio, FM 104.3.  Fasola sings along, “…it’s my daddy, Nebraska, and Jesus Christ.”  Fasola is Jo’s Google+ friend from Macedonia, a part of the former Yugoslavia.

I hook my right hand over Fasola’s inner thigh.  Jo hooks her left hand over Fasola’s inner thigh.

Fasola gently lays her hands over our intimate fingers.  She keeps singing and she keeps looking ahead at the big raindrops dashing themselves into silver mandalas against the windshield.

When You and I finishes playing, I reach to the dashboard with my left hand.  I turn the radio to FM 91.5 where Haydn’s first string quartet is playing sweetly.

Fasola closes her eyes.

My knuckles and fingers dovetail with Jo’s knuckles and fingers.  Fasola lays her head back and blows softly through her lips.

Jo extinguishes her cigarette with her right hand and turns to engage Fasola’s blossoming mouth.  I now kiss the curves of Jo’s right ear.

The windows glaze inside with warm moisture.  I can hear the pop of the intermittent rain droplets through the radio music like the scratches on an old vinyl record.

Jo steadies herself as she coils around Fasola by placing her right hand on my upper right thigh and then with her fingertips she coaxes me.  I tense my butt and I push upward.  With my left hand I unzip my fly-front trousers.  I free myself.  Jo then restrains me with her right hand.  She conducts me to the rhythm of her and Fasola’s tongue duet.

Fasola is breathing fast through her nose.  She unbuttons Jo’s blouse and both of Fasola’s hands frantically circumnavigate Jo’s breasts.  Fasola then unbuttons her own blouse and pushes her own breasts up against Jo’s breasts.  Fasola is now stroking with both her hands back and forth, up and down, along the saddle of pressed breasts.

Jo releases me and tugs Fasola’s skirt up and Fasola arches her back and allows it.  Jo holds onto Fasola’s arched waist and guides her over my lap as I scooch to the right.  I slide my hands down Fasola’s outer thighs, taking her panties to her knees.  She settles down onto my lap with a side-to-side swishing of her hips and she moans.  She leans back against me and I kiss her ear, her cheek, and draw her lips around to my straining tongue.

Jo then slides down off of the edge of the bench seat.  She sits “side saddle” on the floor hump of the truck’s driveshaft between Fasola’s legs that straddle my own bracing legs.  Jo bows down and settles her vagrant lips and tongue against Fasola’s secret lips and against my strenuous interjections.

This heated three-way exchange ends in yelling.

Fasola and I deflate convulsively.  Our passion condenses into droplets on the inside of the windows and slides slowly down.  Jo strokes both of us gently.

Fasola whispers in punctuated breaths to Jo, “What, about, you, Jo?” and she smiles at Jo and then Fasola turns her smile to my face.

Jo arises from the floor hump and slips back onto the truck bench seat beside Fasola.  I see that Jo’s pants are unbuttoned exposing askew panties.  Her Fire-Crotch flames tattoo is unveiled.

Jo grins and says, “I finished myself,” and she lights a clove cigarette.

I say, “Let’s get it together.  We still have a four-hour drive.  Jo, this meeting of the Golden Rule Club is adjourned.”

Fasola says, “No Rule there is but Death and no Goal there is but Power.”

I joke, “Easy there, ‘Yoda’.”

Jo says, “She’s right.”

I ask and instantly regret asking, “Are orgasms ‘Power’?”

Jo laughs, “All other Power is a substitute for orgasms.”

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