rolling thunder



          Frey Palter was twenty-six years old, devilishly handsome, and he lived in the home of his parents that was located in the Anaheim Hills of California among significant major league sports figures, executives, musicians, and politicians.  Frey maintained his lifestyle by acquiring properties, turning them into “Old Folk’s Homes” and then selling them to hospital corporations just as his father had done.  It was brilliantly unglamorous and profitable.  Frey Palter had moved his own parents into such a facility.

          Frey was the boyfriend of Jazmyn who worked in the Siliconex Quality Control (QC) Lab with me.  Jazmyn’s family was wealthy and she did not have to work in a laboratory and yet she chose to do so in a cute effort at independence.

          Call me Nathan.

          Siliconex made silicone prosthetics, primarily breast implants.  When first I was hired into the Siliconex QC Lab I was required to spend a month in Production alongside the Technicians to learn how breast implants were made and thus understand what might cause flaws for which the QC Lab would be looking.  Most of the Technicians were young women all of whom were gowned in special jumpsuits and wearing hairnets and gloves.

          The silicone breast “skins” were made by carefully hand-dipping various breast-shaped molds into proprietary fluid silicone using a shaft handle in order to acquire a thin layer of fluid silicone, all the while being vigilant not to allow formation of tiny bubbles or ripples.  The shafted breast molds resembled enormous lollypops.  Those silicone covered molds then were cured upright on their shafts in an ultraviolet ray oven.  Ultimately these “skins” were peeled off of the molds and filled to their volume and shape with either water or gelatinous silicone.  Samples of those prosthetic breasts were then “spected” (tested to specification) with such devices as tensile (tension) machines that pulled them like taffy until they ruptured.  Finally they were sterilized on carts in big walk-in chambers, using Ethylene Oxide gas.  Ethylene Oxide gas is an irritant, it is carcinogenic, and in pure form it is explosive.

          The Production Technician who was assigned to me as a mentor was Tori.  Tori had an unavoidable personality and a fierce work ethic derived from her second-generation Polish family.  She was audibly critical of any dawdling co-workers.  She had what they call a thick athletic body but she was very feminine and I thought she was alluring.  We became friendly by discussing the online soap operas that were piped into the work area sound system.  All the ladies in the room listened and discussed episodes as they marched among their duties.  It was fun, actually.  I laughed to Tori that after a few weeks I was actually “hooked” on those soap operas.

          Tori would smile and sweetly say, “Seeeee?” and so we flirted.  But I already had a girl friend.  And Tori already had a boyfriend.

          Tori was responsible for taking samples to the QC Lab for testing and as part of my training I accompanied her.  She would bring the breast implant samples to Jazmyn and so I learned that Tori and Jazmyn were good friends.  I think that Tori respected Jazmyn’s effort to be independent in her life, even though Jazmyn was sheltered and naïve.  I think that Jazmyn was drawn by the gravity of Tori’s boldness.  Jazmyn was tall, slender and gentle.

          Jazmyn said to Tori, “I really had fun last night.”

          I had to ask, “Where did you guys go?”

          Jazmyn smiled and while still looking at Tori she pronounced, “Polka dancing!”

          “Polka dancing?”

          Tori said to me, “You bet’cha Polka dancing.  Not easy, is it, Jazmyn?”

          Jazmyn confirmed to me earnestly, “That was the hardest work-out I’ve had in a long time,” and then she laughed and danced a little waltz and hopped a little jig, singing, “Hippety hop, to the barber shop, To buy a stick of candy…,” reciting a poem of which the rhythm hinted at the Polka.

.rolling thunder - female fertility symbol

          Frey Palter had showed up at our lab early one Thursday afternoon to pick-up Jazmyn.

          Introducing Frey to me Jazmyn said, “You two have something in common: you both play guitar.”

          Frey raised one eyebrow, “Oh, yeah?  Come to my place tonight and we can jam.  I have a collection of guitars, keyboards, and drums.”

          Jazmyn said with pleasant conspiracy, “Tori will be there.”

          Suddenly I felt a little guilty and I quickly reminded myself that, after all, I was taking my girlfriend to her family’s cabin this Friday night.  And after all, I was just going to jam with Frey and probably party.  A little.

          Frey added, “Bring your swimming trunks.”

          Jazmyn said, “I’ll give you directions.  This will be fun.”

          I was already beginning to sense what a “babe-magnet” Frey must have been all his life.  I imagined the little girls in his school yard following him as if he were a little Pied Piper.

          I had been the little boy in the schoolyard sandbox throwing ants into the ant lion pits.

.rolling thunder - female fertility symbol

          That evening I rang the sonorous doorbell of Frey’s house and Jazmyn opened the front door, saying brightly, “Hi, hi, Nathan.  Come on in.”

          Jazmyn was wearing a bikini top and short pants.  She noticed my sweeping glance, of course, while she asked me innocently, “You brought your swimming trunks, right?”

          I smiled and pinched my pant hips, pulling them laterally, and making a goofy curtsey I said, “I’m wearing them underneath.”

          Jazmyn tilted her head and asked, “How will you get home dry?”

          I answered, pumping my eyebrows up and down like Groucho Marx, saying, “Commando.”

          Frey Palter’s house was a spacious Spanish style ranchero hacienda that paraded over his property in adobe and brick.  All the doors and passageways were arches.

          Frey was in the hotel-lobby-sized living room talking so some guy wearing sunglasses of all things.  Right in the middle of the room was a circular fireplace that looked like a peasant’s oven.  I think the wood smoke somehow must have been drawn down inside the “oven” to prevent anything but that sweet wood aroma from roaming freely into the living room.

          In one far corner were electric guitars, basses, keyboards, and drums arrayed as if a band were on a break and due back in fifteen minutes.  Frey turned his head toward me, winked and subtly raised an index finder in greeting, calling over to Jazmyn and me, “Give him the tour.”

          I never knew that bedrooms and bathrooms and a kitchen could be like apartments in their own right.

          Finally, the kitchen sliding glass door opened into an enclosed patio the walls of which were long open-air adobe archways that viewed the pool, the sea of lawn, the vegetable and herb gardens, and the fruit trees.  I saw Tori strolling among the fruit trees.

          There was a big flat-screen television up on one wall of this patio and the other three walls were accompanied by long leather couches strewn with colorful blankets.  And in the middle of this patio “environment” was the spacious sunken contoured hot tub.  All around me there was a romantic cast iron, leather, and candle ambiance.  If this patio were all there was to a house of mine I would have been ecstatic.  The appellation “babe magnet” occurred to me again and I wondered how to say it in Spanish.

          Frey and “Joe Sunglasses” joined Jazmyn and me in the patio enclosure.  Frey introduced the guy to me, saying, “Nathan, this is my oldest friend, Corey,” and then matter-of-factly, “He’s blind,” and Corey shrugged.

          I said, “Hey, Corey, cool,” and I reached out to shake hands and then realizing how clueless that looked I immediately felt stupid, stupid, and then stupid again.  But Corey extended his hand directly into mine.

          Corey tipped his head back and said, “Welcome to Frey World.  Nathan, you play guitar?”

          I nodded to him in another nascent gaff but then I spoke up quickly, “Yeah, you?”

          Corey grinned, “I play everything.”

          Frey interjected, “How about some drinks?  Jazmyn?”

          Jazmyn was already approaching with a pitcher of blood red concoction and a tray of glasses, “Sangria, everyone?” and then she called out to Tori who was still among the fruit trees, “More Sangria, Tori?”  I swear I caught the flash of Tori’s eye.  I got a little flare of guilt in my solar plexus and I turned quickly to accept my Sangria from Jazmyn, thinking this will extinguish that.

          The doorbell then sounded around us like the tolling of a distant church bell.  Jazmyn set her drink down and went to discharge her appointed duties as the hostess for this evening.

          Corey asked wittily, “For whom does the doorbell toll, Nathan?”

          Frey laughed.

          I commented, “Cool doorbell.”

          Corey continued, “It tolls for thee, Nathan.”

          Frey said, “Hanna.”

          Frey confessed to me as if he were discussing an investment tip, “Hanna is my old girlfriend.  She drinks too much but we are still friends.  You’ll like her.”

          I blurted, “And Jazmyn in cool with that?  I mean, it’s none of my business…”

          Frey said simply, “Jazmyn is cool with me.”

          Corey nodded and said, “And Hanna is cool with everything.”

          Tori appeared beside me nonchalantly and I said, “Hey, Tori,” while she proceeded to light my guilty fuse again as she replied, “Hey, Nathan.”  It was in the subtle music of the way she said it.  It made me firm with myself, if you know what I mean.  So I took a long drink of Sangria.

          Jazmyn was still the perfect hostess, leading Hanna to us and announcing to all as if presenting a debutante, “Hanna has come.”

          Frey quipped, “Not yet I hope.”

          Hanna winced with a defensive smile and quickly reached for a glass of Sangria, muttering, “I love Sangria but I hate that the name means ‘Blood’.”  She was a red-head who was what they call “slender with assets” and I mentally quoted the catalog number of the appropriate Siliconex prosthetic breast that matched her.

          Jazmyn asked Hanna sincerely, “How is it going?”

          Hanna lowered her drink and replied, “It can always be worse.”

          Corey teased, “Now there’s the spirit!”

          Tori then raised her own Sangria, “Here’s to Better,” and we all took a drink.

          Frey clapped his hands once and rubbed them together, saying, “All righty, then.  Dudes, let’s jam.  I set up the tape machine.  Jazmyn, you take the ladies swimming.  We’ll all hook up here in the patio later, OK?”

.rolling thunder - female fertility symbol

          An hour later Frey, Corey, and I were sitting in the living room around the central fireplace, still drinking Sangrias, listening to the taped playback of our jazzy improvisation session.  I could hear the girls outside splashing in the pool.  I glanced out the window and saw Tori dive in head first.

          I turned back to Corey, saying, “Man, you really have a different way of playing, dude.”

          Corey was bobbing his head, “Yeah, yeah, man, I hear what I’m going to play before I even play it.”

          I sat forward, “Wow that is so deep, man.  When I play or listen to music I see geometric shapes in my head.  I think geometrically.”  Then I wondered if Corey knew what a geometric shape was, adding, “If you know what I mean.”

          Corey observed, “I remember geometric.  I lost my sight to a brain tumor when I was a kid, but I remember.  You can’t go as far out by conceiving geometrically; you can’t get as abstract with all those rules of points and lines and angles.”

          Frey slung his arm around my shoulders, saying, “Nathan, you sound like an Eric Page the way you hold and bend those notes, making them cry.”

          I nodded, ridiculously flattered, saying, “Hey, thanks, man.  I finally figured out that the lead is a voice, not a sewing machine.”

          Corey laughed, “Now that is surreal.”

          Jazmyn came into the living room in a wet bikini and rubbed against Frey, asking like a little girl, “Don’t you want to come out and play?” and Frey nuzzled her cheek.  He said to Corey and me without looking at us, “Gentlemen, man your swimming trunks,” then he put his arm around Jazmyn and drew her away with him into the hallway and toward the master bedroom.

          Corey pulled his shirt up and off unabashedly and then pulled his shoes and socks off using his feet.  He dropped his trousers and was finally standing there bulging in his underwear, hands on his hips.

          I recovered from my surprise and said to him, “Just a second,” and I disrobed down to the swimming trunks that I was wearing.  Corey took my wrist and I guided him into the enclosed patio and then out toward the pool.

          The pool area was illuminated with only the glow from the house.  The water was agitated with ripples of starlight as Tori swam laps in her pink bikini.  Hanna sat cross-legged in a puddle of water on the decorative concrete pool deck drinking Sangria and watching Tori.  Hanna wore her ample white bra and tight panties as a swimsuit.  Her attire was all but transparent with soaking.

.rolling thunder - female fertility symbol

          Corey wound up sitting beside Hanna with his feet dangling in the pool.

          I had dived-in and swum a few fast laps to relieve the giddiness in my solar plexus.  I had ended up in the deep end with Tori, treading water, chatting and joking; both of us chasing the glisten in each other’s eyes.

          I went for it.

          What was the harm?  My girlfriend would never find out.  Tori wasn’t going to tell her boyfriend.  I blame the Sangria.

          I kissed Tori hard, pushing her up against the side of the pool, grasping the deck on either side of her.  Tori locked herself around me in a coil tight like an octopus.  Her skin felt so smooth and cool; I must have felt hot to her.  We gyrated.  God help me, I really was in the deep end.  I know for sure that my tongue was, anyway.  I wanted to grab the globes of her bottom but I couldn’t let go of the deck without sinking.

.rolling thunder - female fertility symbol

          I don’t know how long Tori and I were merging in the pool when I heard Jazmyn and Frey standing above us, Frey laughing down, saying, “Well, we can’t throw water on them.”

          I could hear that Hanna and Corey were in the patio hot tub.  Hanna was calling out loudly, “Come on, Fre-yyyyy.  Turn up the jets.  More bubbles.”

          Frey put his arm around Jazmyn and looking down at Tori and me he said, “Come along you two.  You’ve been very naughty and you know it.”

          Jazmyn giggled, “Your punishment is to be boiled.”

          Then Jazmyn, Frey, Tori and I slipped single-file down into the cauldron of the contoured sunken hot tub, joining Hanna and Corey, taking places along the perimeter seating as Hanna amused herself with the sound of her own voice, chanting, “Boy-girl, boy-girl, boy-girl.”  The churning water swirled, blooped and hissed.  It was dark in the patio enclosure except for the soft golden glow of four candles undulating on the four patio walls.  Of course, there upon the hot tub deck was the ubiquitous pitcher of Sangria.  We drank and chatted.

          Frey asked me, “Nathan, do you have investments?”

          I answered half-jokingly, “Just an investment in myself.”

          Corey retorted without looking at me, saying, “Now there’s a Bull (Shit) Market.”  He was listening closely to the slouched Hanna’s dreamy reactions to his unseen hands,

          Frey was not distracted, “Do you intend to work in the lab forever?”

          I answered defensively, “Nooo.  No.  No, of course not.  I’ve been reading this great book by Peter Drucker called The Practice of Management.  Believe it or not it’s really interesting.  I think I’d like to move up into management.”

          Frey warned, “India and China are taking your lab jobs at half the salary.”

          Jazmyn responded in solidarity with Tori and me, “Frey, don’t say things like that.”

          Frey leaned back and closed his eyes, saying, “It’s true.  Any book-learnin’ job can be exported.  Only service jobs like janitors and maids can’t be exported.”

          Corey joined-in again, saying, “Or maybe Old Folks Homes.”

          Frey grinned and nodded, saying, “The only way to make a lot of money in the future is to start-up and to own a local service business.”

          I looked at Frey and admitted, “Some guys have the knack.”

          Hanna sat upright suddenly and said loudly, “Fuck business!  Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.  This is a party,” and then whooped loudly, “Whoo-Hoo!” as she poured herself another full glass of Sangria.  Her tight wet bra was nearly invisible against her skin.

          Frey studied Hanna and then looked long and hard at all of us before saying cryptically, “Alright, I think it’s time we guys said ‘Hi’ to the girls.”

          Frey then took Hanna’s arm gently and she all but floated to the center of the hot tub with him and stood waist deep in the froth.  Frey then held Jazmyn’s hand as if in a courtly dance to the center of the hot tub.  Frey gestured and Tori arose and waded to the center of the hot tub.  Frey then pressed the girls back-to-back.  For a moment I thought that Frey finally must be drunk and silly.

          Jazmyn and Tori lowered their eyes and seemed a little nervous.  Hanna closed her eyes and raised her chin and seemed to stand at attention.

          Frey reached behind Hanna and undid her wet bra with a few snake-swift movements, sliding the bra off of Hanna’s arms.  Hanna stood there with her eyes still closed and her spellbinding assets loosened.

          Frey then untied Jazmyn’s bikini top and he tossed it onto the deck with Hanna’s bra.  Tori let Frey untie her bikini top but she pulled it off and tossed it onto the deck herself.

          Frey waded back around to Hanna and kissed her left breast, “Hel-lo,” and then lingered on her right nipple, saying, “Hel-lo.”  Hanna with an aching look reached to run her fingers quickly through Frey’s hair.

          Frey moved away and beckoned me as he waded around to Tori.  He turned his attention to Tori’s girls, saying, “Hel-lo.  Hel-lo”

          I looked into Hanna’s eyes as I approached.  She turned her head as if looking out toward the fruit trees, but she did not resist.  I kissed her ample left breast, whispered, “Hello?” and then found myself lingering on her right breast, “Mmm, Hello.”  I felt a shove.  It was Corey.  I moved around to Tori as Corey fastened himself to Hanna in turn and Frey alighted on Jazmyn.

          Tori gave a little push to each breast as I took her into my mouth, “Hello-mmm, Hello-mmm,” and I think she sighed for my benefit.  I placed my hands on her hips.  She placed her hands on my wrists.

          Frey had moved back to the hot tub bench seat to watch the progression unfold.  I nervously came to Jazmyn, watching Frey from the corner of my eye.  But Jazmyn gently laid her hands on the back of my head and held me against one of her breasts and then moved me to the other breast like I was a baby.  I was afraid to linger on her, so I peeled my lips away and went to the perimeter as had Frey.  I watched Frey out of the corner of my eye while also watching Corey complete the procession.  Be cool, be cool, don’t stare, look around at something else.

          I thought to myself suddenly, “The Pied Piper.”

          We paired again but now we sat as if we were stitched to our partners, Hanna and Corey, Jazmyn and Frey, Tori and I, each in a tight huddle kissing everything above the roiling water and fondling everything below and breathing steam.

.rolling thunder - female fertility symbol

          Frey said, “Let’s go inside by the fireplace,” and he escorted Jazmyn out of the hot tub.  Hanna followed, swaying.  Corey was steadying her from behind.  I gave Tori a final kiss and I gestured for her to go ahead of me.  The air was a lot cooler than the steamy hot tub.  You can imagine how alert were the girls.

          Around the circular fireplace were placed three large wedge-shaped cushions covered in soft cloth, equidistant from each other at “midnight, four, and eight”.  I figured that Jazmyn had placed them while we were swimming earlier.  The unsteady fire was the only light.

          Frey and Jazmyn sat down in front of one wedge cushion and then leaned back together.  Corey and Hanna did the same.  Tori fell back into the third cushion and pulled me down.

          Frey turned to Jazmyn and slid his hand down her belly, saying, “Guys, let’s be there for the ladies.”  As his hand crossed her border Jazmyn closed her eyes and squirmed.

          Corey was trying to pull Hanna’s tight wet panties down off of her hips.  He growled and grabbed the narrow section of her panties waist and ripped them apart.  She whispered, “Why did you do that?” and spread her legs far apart.  He laid his head in her lap.

          I looked down into Tori’s eyes and she untied one side of her bikini bottom.  I peeled it back and then wandered into her garden with my hand.  She arched her back.  As I scooched down and laid my head in her lap, I saw from the corner of my eye that Frey had done the same with Jazmyn.  We all glanced at each other.

          We slurped the nectar of the goddesses with gasping, sighing, and moaning from all of us.  The intoxication made my head spin speaking in tongue.

.rolling thunder - female fertility symbol

          I was startled when Frey called out, saying, “Rolling Thunder!” and he left Jazmyn to approach me on his hands and knees.  I saw that Corey had arisen and moved to Jazmyn.  Frey pushed me toward Hanna.

          Frey, the Ring Master, said, “Gentlemen, let us introduce ourselves to the ladies,” and then said to me with a grin, “No coming, rookie.”

          In a conflagration of emotion I saw Frey mount Tori, who was glancing at me.  I saw Corey between Jazmyn’s knees.  I turned to Hanna next to me.  She was waiting.  I arrived.

          I felt like pagan beast and I let that emotion consume me, pressing into the wilds of Hanna, deeper and deeper.

          Suddenly, I heard Frey cry out again, “Rolling Thunder,” and I withdrew, rolling away as Frey approached.  Hanna welcomed him inside and wrapped her legs around him and wrapped her arms around his shoulders, holding his head against hers.  There were tears in her eyes as she gave a heart-felt performance to her ex-boyfriend.  I felt sorry for her.

          I had arrived at Jazmyn.  I truly liked Jazmyn before all this madness.  So I slid easily into her arms and legs.  She pedaled her feet.  I could hear all three girls getting louder.  I was dousing my blazing mind with Don’t Come, don’t come.

          “Rolling Thunder!”

          I was back home to Tori who was breathing fast.  She grabbed me and put me in her place.

          Frey gasped, “Gentlemen, bring the ladies home.”

          The blood in my head pounded.  The pulse of our cries and gasps became one rhythm, rising, pounding, pounding, pounding like a battering ram at the gates of heaven.

          In a singular chorus of shrieking Tori, Hanna, and Jazmyn tried to outdo each other.  Finally, all of our worlds vanished simultaneously.

          I fell apart into the vibrations of the universe thundering and rolling.






Follow This Link To My SITE





imperfect pebbles



          I am Old Medicine and I have come to this mountain creek in the white of winter to settle my death.

          This creek yet flows through the frozen tears of the Great Spirit.  In the throat of this flowing creek I see many pebbles colored with the memories of sunlight.  I reach into this yet living water but the cold makes my hand turn very heavy, reminding me, stroking my hand, reminding me.  One by one I borrow pebbles to make a beautiful arrangement on behalf of my death.

          Great Spirit, how could I possibly have added to your sovereign purpose?  How can I possibly honor you now except to kiss the life that was never mine and return it gracefully?  What other arrangement do I have time to understand as an old man?

          I am old and frozen with lies.  I now need freedom.

          These pebbles are imperfect and that is their beauty and I arrange them in the symbols taught to me long ago by my mother and never forgotten.

          Still, I am not finished arranging my pebbles when the child of my death appears to me.  He reaches for my cold fingers…





great spirit life insurance






Follow This Link To My SITE




word to the wise combo 1 - crop 1



Every word was once a poem

–            Ralph Waldo Emerson

In the beginning was the Word

–            The Bible, John 1:1

‘Nigger’ is today the ugliest word in evocation

‘Cunt’ is today the ugliest word in personification

–            You gave me your word.

‘Forgive’ is today the loveliest word in evocation

‘Angel’ is today the loveliest word in personification

–            I give you my word.

        In the tree-lined parking lot of the Edwards Multiplex Theater sat Clarissa and her girlfriend Skylar eating hamburgers in the shade of the lavender tree beside Clarissa’s black VW Beetle.  Clarissa chewed and listened thoughtfully as Skylar talked.

        Skylar, who was short and plump, wore shoulder-length hair dyed dark brown with a crown of orange.  Skylar, who with round face, Asian eyes, and flamingo eye-shadow, stuck out her chin as she spoke.  Skylar who wore a blue plaid flannel shirt and dark blue jeans was saying, “So like my mother was asking me ‘are you straight, or are you gay?’ and so like you know how when I argue I get into it, I don’t back down?  And you know my mom is like old-school Korean?”

        Clarissa, grinning with her mouth full of hamburger as Skylar’s eyes pleaded for acquiescence, nodded to Skylar and then Skylar continued, “So I was all like ‘what does it matter?’, I’m like totally straight but like I told her about how those girls at Stefano’s party were like checking me out, remember, so what?  And my mom was all like ‘why can’t you be normal?’ and I was all like ‘what, and hate everyone?’  And then my mom was crying, and my step-father came in and said like ‘get out of your mother’s sight’ and so I am like, fuck you, this is my house before it will ever be your house and everything so I just left,” and Skylar, shaking her head, finally stopped talking to take a bite of her hamburger.

        It was Clarissa’s cue to speak.

        Clarissa who was short and slender and ebony wore her dark hair pulled back and it lay between her shoulder blades.  Clarissa who had full lips and a narrow nose that held up her averting eyes as she spoke stood up crumpling the empty hamburger bag.  Clarissa who wore a tight cotton logo T-shirt that said Mulatta Soul and dark blue jeans was saying simply, “You can stay with me anytime.”

        Skylar replied with a plug of hamburger in her mouth, saying mutedly as she then also arose, “Clarissa, you are an Angel.  You forgive everybody,” and she followed Clarissa to the trash receptacle on the theater walkway.

        Clarissa stuffed the crumpled bag into the receptacle, saying philosophically, “All that shit drama; it’s all yesterday’s trash, so just get rid of it.”

        Skylar’s mouth had to speak, full of the last hamburger bite, saying, “But I called you like a ‘nigger cunt’ right in front of Stefano just because he called me a ‘cunt’, ha ha, when I was winning that argument about sexism and I knew he likes you and I knew that you like agree with me and I am like so totally sorry but you never say anything.”

        Clarissa sighed, “Skylar, if I carried around all the words that everyone wanted to lay on me I would be a…,” suddenly laughing, “Don’t you say it, Skylar, it’s not funny!”

        Skylar grinned slyly saying, “Iggernunt?”

        Skylar took Clarissa’s hand and together they went into the theater to see Word to the Wise starring you, dear reader.






Follow This Link To My SITE




 cutters lounge A



        Tonight is Swinging Dicks’ Night at The Cutters Lounge cigar bar.  There are to be no women.  So why is The Katman’s daughter serving the ceremonial Clynelish 20-year old Scotch to Michael, Rick, David, and me?

        “My dad is running late.  He said to start with his recommended appetizers.”  She holds out a tray of New Havana cigars.

        Michael turns his head, blows a billow of smoke and converses with it.  “There aren’t supposed to be any … girls tonight.”

        Katie curls her lips at him, “Why?  That never stops you from scratching, farting, and belching.”

        Michael’s head whips back at her and he tries to give her his most foreboding stare of doom.  Katie turns and sways away to the counter out front, scratching her ass at him.

        Rick grins and pleads after her, “Everything out there in the world is for women.”

        I add, calling out lamely, “Civilization is a feminine concept!”

        Rick turns to me in seriousness, “It really is, you know.  Think about it: the highest compliment paid to the most advanced invention is ‘a woman can do it’”.

        Michael says “Yeah?  What about France?”


        “They were supposed to be the highest civilization once, and they wore powdered wigs and silk stockings!”  Michael leans back in triumph.

        Katie calls from the front counter, “Yeah, yeah.  Without women men would just fish and drink beer.”

        “And smoke cigars!” says Rick.

        “How can she hear us?” I ask incredulously.

        “She’s young,” says David, laughing at me.

        Michael persists, saying loudly, “All real men used to hunt, …seek, …endure…

        Rick interrupts him at his own peril, “Men hunt, women nest”, quoting from the old Seinfeld show.

        “…and all real women, yes, tended the campfire and the children,” Michael finishes, glaring at Rick.

        Katie shoots back, unseen from the front counter, “And women made damn sure the Men stayed away from the children.  They’ll fuck anything.”

        David bursts out with mock indignation, “How dare you insult my better half?”  He grabs my hand.

        I say wryly, “Not tonight, dear, I’m constipated.”

        “Maybe I can help?” he whispers.

        Michael makes a retching sound.  Rick chimes in, “A little too civilized, gentlemen.”

        The Katman enters.  We stand.

        I bow.  Rick curtsies.  Michael salutes smartly.  David flings his right arm out with a “Heil, mein Meister”.

        The Katman seats himself upon the massage recliner Throne and proceeds to hold court, allowing the obvious question from David, “How did the meeting go?”

        The Katman lowers his eyes and warms the foot of his cigar, revealing, “This is a Fausto.”

        I ask humbly, “Is it as good as the Avion?”

        “Better,” says The Katman as he savors the ignition.  “You’ll all try one.”

        “What about the meeting?” insists David irreverently.

        The Katman states matter-of-factly, “It’s going to be a fight.  The government is hell-bent on regulating cigar blends.”

        “Why?” asks Rick rhetorically, “This isn’t cigarettes.  This is wine tasting.”

        Michael says, “It’s what bureaucrats do.  The government can only grow.”

        “Until the revolution!” I conclude, trying to be weighty.

        David shakes his head, “The German government strictly regulates beer.  They sure haven’t ruined that.”

        “A Cigar Czar?” Rick contemplates out loud, “Quality control for blending?  Now that’s a government job I’d like to have!”

        The Katman watches and listens as his court debates, his eyes pulsing red with the glow of the Fausto cigar tip.






Follow This Link To My SITE







        Do you remember the question you asked me when I first asked you for a job as a Pole Dancer at this club: Why do women have so much power when they are young?

        Well, then you surely remember your answer: Because they have so little when they are old.

        You still think like that?  At the Vancouver Peace Summit 2009, the Dalai Lama said, “The world will be saved by the western woman.”  And look at this:


        Weakness, frailty and demure reticence are no longer sexy. What’s sexy now are flexibility and power. Innate power. The pole is a metaphor for self-sufficiency. What do we do on the pole after all, but support our own body weight, support ourselves while we flow and soar in organic, sensual feminine movement?

        The pole is a masculine, okay I’ll say it, phallic symbol. It is sturdy and solid, and well, rigid. The pole dancer uses feminine energy to move around the pole. Leaning on the rigidity of the pole makes all those cool circular, spinning tricks possible.

–        T. S. Valenzuela | Editor In Chief, VERTICAL


        So why are you making me retire?  Is it my age?  My followers cannot tell how old I am… unless they try to estimate from my 2012 Miss World Online Pole Dance Championship.  Do you think I’m “too old to pole”?  Black women age beautifully!  And I’m still the best at Presentation, Performance, and Tricks.

        Say huh?

        You want me to coach the Pole Dance Olympic Team?  Shee-it.  Is that another one of your fucking lousy jokes?  Cause you aren’t funny.

        Say huh?

        And how much would that pay?

        I make twice that.

        Yes, yes I do.  I’m Magdelisha!  Magdelisha has some very important gentlemen followers and you know it.

        And how much is this club… are you going to make off of me coaching an Olympic Team?  Of course, so that’s why you are making me “retire”.  I’ll go to another club, you motherfucker.”

        Yes I will.

        I will not “shut the fuck up”.

        I swear I will walk out of here.

        You motherfucker.  Bitch, you wouldn’t.  If you tell them what I really am… if you say you fired me for that they will kill me.  If they kill me you lose too, Bitch.

        Don’t act like you don’t care.  I’ll tell them about both of us first!

        OK, OK.  Yes.  I agree, I agree.  Gawd A’mighty, what is wrong with us?  We don’t need to persecute ourselves.

        I have a Pole Dance routine I call Two Spirits that protests the notion of only men and women.

        Yes.  I liked that slogan at the conference in Winnipeg, too: “All Drums Welcome”.

        You are the one who told me about the Hindu Hijra, neither men nor women, you know, and how the almighty god Krishna became a woman himself to marry that warrior, you know, who wanted a wife before he sacrificed himself to the gods.

        Yes.  Yes.  I remember.  Anne Fausto-Sterling did say it best in The Five Sexes.

        I’m sorry, too.


        Yes I do think it is funny.  Shee-it.  Look at the two of us.  Around and around we go.

        Whatever we are, I love you, too.






Follow This Link To My SITE







        My first piano teacher, Mr. Nohl, still plays a recital at the County Fair on his tours.  This year it really sucks.  He’s playing Beethoven’s Für Elise (For Elise).  It is like slop to the hogs and this crowd is eating it up.  I can’t think of a more brain-molding bunt than that piece.

        Mama used to play it all the time when I was a child; her swaying like she was snake-fascinated.  Mr. Nohl would tell me when I started piano lessons, “In measure seven on the G clef the second note to be played is supposed to be a D, not an E as it is in most sheet music.  No one really knows the real manuscript of Für Elise since all we have are questionable transcriptions and some sketches by Beethoven himself but Beethoven’s sketch has a D there.”

        Like it should matter to me.  Please.  I can’t wait to leave this town.  Even if I do get favors because I play piano.  How far can even the biggest favor in this town take me?  I just can’t wait and Mama knows it.

        And thank God this recital is over.  So there it is: I did what Mama asked and I saw Mr. Nohl play.  I need a cigarette.  Now if I can just sneak out of here without having to talk to Mr. Nohl.  Well, I’ve made it out onto the road without him noticing me.  Nice night.  Time for that cigarette.  Oh, Mercy Christmas, someone is calling my name.

        “Elise?  Elise is that you?”

        It is Mr. Nohl.  I turn and hold my cigarette between us.

        He is grinning as he trots closer, saying, “How have y’all been, Elise?  How is your mama?”

        I reply, “Mama is just fine.”

        He asks, “Still playing piano?”

        I reply minimally, “Mama and me both still play.”

        He says, “Yeah, yeah.  I have heard.  Well that is just fine, really fine.  I’ll bet you are really quite the fine pianist by now.”

        He hesitates, like he is waiting for me to say something.  Oh, fine, I can say, “It was a real nice recital back there.”

        He closes his eyes and lowers his head, like I am blessing him, and he says, “I am glad you liked it, Elise, really glad.  I always dedicate Für Elise to you and your mama.”

        Oh, great.  I take a drag on my cigarette and blow smoke as I say, “Yup.  That piece is special, especially to Mama.”  I don’t say Way too special to Mama.  I know Mr. Nohl had something with Mama a long time ago.  What does he want with me?

        Mr. Nohl says softly, “I am sorry to hear about your mama, Elise, but I heard she is doing fine?”

        I blow more smoke and he fades to me for a moment, “Mama can’t work anymore.  But thanks to you I can jam at Sticky Finger’s Pourhouse whenever I want and I earn money.”

        Mr. Nohl looks like I hit him, “But, isn’t that place… Aren’t you only… How can…”

        I say real cool, “Nobody cares.  They know me there as ‘Babette’.  I can play jazz and blues and some classical arrangements, to ‘classical-up the place’ like Wanda tells me; Wanda is the owner.”

        Mr. Nohl is struggling for something as he asks, “Elise, can we talk?  Let’s go get some lemonade.”

        My very own little devil, I call her “Babette”, has an idea and I say, “Sure.  But under one condition.”

        Mr. Nohl would say yes to anything and he prods with a nod.

        I say, “We can have some lemonade at my house.  Mama is up and I’m sure she would like to see you, Mr. Nohl, for old time’s sake?”  I laugh, “Für Elise?”

        Then Mr. Nohl surprises me (and Babette) when he says, “Elise, praise God, that’s what I wanted to ask you.  I would like nothing better.”

        Babette didn’t see that coming.  So we walk on down the road in the moonlight.  Disoriented now, I offer Mr. Nohl a cigarette and he refuses but he doesn’t admonish me.

        Mr. Nohl finally says to me quietly, “You are turning into a fine little lady, Elise, and I mean that.”

        Babette gets nervous, and I say, “Thanks, Mr. Nohl.  I had to grow up kind of fast.  Wanda had to show me some dirty fighting.  Not everyone at Sticky Finger’s is a ‘music lover’.  Wanda has been like my big sister.”

        Mr. Nohl says, “Then I like Wanda already.  You were always precocious, Elise.  Do you remember starting to play piano at four years old?”

        I sigh, “Mama never lets me forget.  She still tells me she named me after that most famous piece of music (Babette won’t let me say Für Elise) that no one is really sure who wrote the version we all know.  How flattering.”

        Mr. Nohl suddenly starts monologuing, “If my life was sheet music it would look like one long chromatic arpeggio.  A solo on one string in thin air,” he gestures, “Even a dirt road is headed somewhere.  I’ve been thinking that I need to root or I’ll just disappear and no one will know or care,” he pauses a long time, “I never stopped thinking about your mama and you.  I want to make things right with your mama and you.  Elise, do you know what I am saying?”

        Babette, where are you?  I say, “What do you mean ‘make things right’?” and I am angry.  Babette isn’t talking.

        Mr. Nohl stares up at the stars, “I mean I want to take care of your mama the way she deserves, the way she needed me to, and especially now…” he stops and faces me.

        Babette!  I feel abandoned, frightened, saying, “What does that mean?  We’re doing just fine.  Mama and me are just fine ourselves.  Without you.  I always knew you made Mama sad!  Who needs you?”  I raise my fist in defiance.

        Then I swear that I could feel Babette push me into Mr. Nohl’s arms and I start to cry as Babette makes way for Mr. Nohl’s daughter, Elise.






Follow This Link To My SITE




the last songbird



          Bless you for stopping to give me a ride.  It will only be a few miles.  I am Akasha Tubourn, a doctoral student in the university Department of Environmental Conservation.

          Please, I must tell you an amazing story about a songbird.  Yes, a songbird.  I will tell you why I am agitated, if you will just listen.  I call her Shaherazad.  What?  What was her real name?  Why do you ask… yes, yes, you are joking with me?  But I tell you I just knew that was how her spirit was called.  Listen to me.

          I have been working for years documenting the land management needs of nearby woodlands, especially an area I discovered that was amazingly rich in songbird activity.  I was an intern for the Fairbanks Development Company while working on my thesis but I swear I thought that I could do good things protecting the woodlands from within such a caring company.  They asked for me after all.  But it was the belly of an insatiable leviathan I am ashamed to say now.  I was (how do you say it?) I was just a red herring.

          Yes, yes, I am the “ungrateful agitator” you have seen on television.  They say I blow whistles.  I do not understand that insult.  Is that like a “blow job”?  Never mind.  But you do understand then that Fairbanks wants to develop those woodlands completely.  They think that a golf-course will replace the meadow and shrub lands.  I organized a rebellion (no, what is the proper word?), a moral defense by students and environmentalists to halt the slaughter, yes, slaughter.  Slaughter of Shaherazad’s queendom.

          Shaherazad had not yet come to me when I organized the resistance to the development.  We were joined by dozens of faithful who constructed a perimeter, a necessary evil against the bulldozers, and we were trying not to damage the woods by our very numbers.  The college was threatening to expel me; Fairbanks had lodged formal protest with the Dean.  After all, I am just a foreign student!  The media made me appear like I ate locusts and honey and like I was against employment, your new graven image believe me.  I was losing faith.  I became fearful as one does without faith.

          Only the bad publicity for Fairbanks from sympathetic reporters really kept the machines at bay, not any symbolic barricade.  But the public sympathy was shadowed by the vultures of unemployment that circle over you.  Yes, good joke, my friend: songbirds and vultures.

          Then she came to me one evening as I prayed on the barricade.  I heard her beautiful song, sweet and delicate but with the haunting sadness of a dove’s coo.  I turned.  I just knew it was a female.  She resembled a golden male Warbler, with amber streaks and swirls, but she was not.  It struck me how colorfully marked she was for a female songbird.  She turned her head.  That is when the name Shaherazad occurred to me!

          For some reason I just held out my hand.  She fluttered to my fingers and held on, fearless.  I cannot tell you how astonished I was at this.  I felt like I was dreaming but I had no reason to awaken.  I was compelled to raise her close to my face.  Her eyes were like two fiery emerald tear-drops.  It was as if she controlled my hand and I brought her to my lips.  I swear to you, she gently stitched my lips with pecks that I felt were kisses.

          Yes, go ahead, look at me that way.  But why would I sacrifice myself to such a lie?  Can you understand me, before God, I felt… Love.  Love commanding me from that tiny, gentle creature.  How can we kill anything that sings?  Would that not be even a savage’s first act of grace?

          I am sorry, I am agitated.  You have not heard yet what happened.

          Some drunken men who had been out of work for several years got together and they went and set fire to those woods.  They are blaming us.  They set fires in so many places.  The firemen said they could only contain the perimeter as it burned.  How convenient, yes?  Our barricade of rebellion kept the fire inside.  I cannot believe them.  Fairbanks must have controlled them all.  Yes, I believe that.  They are a big, fucking, employer aren’t they?  Now they want to arrest me!

          Of course I am crying, my whole world is burning.  Wait!  This is it.  Yes, the Fairbanks Development Company.  Stop and let me out here.  You have been very kind and patient with me, bless you.  You will be in no trouble.

          I mean that I tell no one you helped me.  Forgive my laugh.  Yes, that was funny for me to say.


In a horrifying act of environmental terrorism, the Fairbanks Development Company was severely damaged when a young woman walked into the main lobby and detonated a home-made bomb that she was wearing.  Apparently, the bomb had been packed with feathers as a symbol of environmental issues.






Follow This Link To My SITE