Chapter 1

“Every day above ground is a good day.” – Big Kat Kaylor

JAN 1, 1985, Tuesday


          Outside this apartment window, New Year’s morning stirs still wet behind the leaves.  The sky above is eggshell blue.  The clouds toddle curly and wispy.  A small airplane grumbles overhead.  Sunlight dives right down into a pool of water rippling and shimmering on the roof below, and then it somersaults onto the backs of the parked cars and it lounges.

I hear the soft shuffling of powder and perfume and the careful clicking of lipstick.  She is a shadow’s touch behind a nearly closed door.  Goddess of the moon and the hunt, I am forbidden to look at you.

Outside this apartment window, birds pip and cheep.  The willow trees slouch but do not weep.  The red tiles on the slanted roofs grow green moss…

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14_end of years, crop1



        It was Saturday night, New Year’s Eve. Arlen was at the mini-mall Lavanderia Laundromat loading a washing machine. He was alone under the fluorescent glare. He shut the washer lid and pushed the tray of coins into the slot. The washer began to throb.

        Arlen shuffled outside into the icy-cold evening. There was a lot of moonlight. He looked up at the great asteroid now looming brightly behind the full moon. The great asteroid made the moon look like the iris in a cosmic eyeball. It peered through the shimmering auroras in the upper atmosphere and it blinked behind the gauze of smoke from volcanoes far away.

        “It’s actually beautiful,” said a voice behind Arlen.

        “Aesthetics is dead,” replied Arlen curtly to the stranger. Arlen went back inside the Lavanderia Laundromat to watch the TV on the wall.

        The stranger…

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Chapitre V ~ Le Grand Guerrier (The Great Warrior)

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chapter 5 O - resize 500ur pathetic royal wedding entourage trudges through the forest.  It has been raining.  Magge rides her horse beside mine.  Pale and feverish, she remains hooded like grim death in those damp riding clothes.  Le Capitaine de Notre Garde rides back beside Magge and looks at her.  Magge forces herself up straight and offers a pained grin.  She is transparent with illness.  The Captain Of Our Guard looks to me questioningly.

          He is young and awkward.  To me it occurs that my wedding entourage is but a minor assignment that has been given to a new recruit.  I speak too sharply, saying ~ How do you like being Le Capitaine de Notre Garde thus far? ~

          He furrows his brow in embarrassment at my tone.  He looks at the tear~shaped ~6~ I have carved under my eye in protest of Magge’s six lashings.  He says to me, ~ How do you like being a Princess thus far? ~

          So, my situation is well known.  He does not look away.  He says to me, now kindly, ~ I am Etienne, your highness.  They were unfairly harsh to your tutor ~

          I reply bitterly, ~ Yes.  We make up civilization as we go along. ~

          Etienne offers softly, ~ It will not be much farther to Le Monastère de l’Incorruptables ~

          I am not comforted.  I am to reside in the Monastery of the Incorruptibles where the barbarian Hrolf The Walker will convert to Christianity.  Then Hrolf and I are to be married as a political bargain.  In the meantime, I am to be instructed in the Ways of Men by the monks of the abbey.

          Suddenly a figure emerges from the forest and waddles hastily towards us.  Startled, I do see that it is a deformed old woman.  Her nest of hair holds a twisted face that looks as if it has been cooked twice.  She bears only one eye in the center of her forehead.  She is clothed in bark that she must have stitched with her own hair as thread.

          The old woman grins crookedly and claps her hands and cries, ~ Le Grand Guerrier! The Great Warrior! ~

          The mounted guards reel toward her with their swords drawn.

          I cry, ~ Stop! ~

          Etienne yells, ~ Stay your swords! ~

          The old woman now dances, saying, ~ The Great Warrior! The Great Warrior! ~

          The mounted guards halt and glance back at Etienne.  He glances at me and he nervously clears his throat and then commands, ~ Give her food and leave her be.~

          I watch Etienne sit up proudly and ride back to his position in the entourage.

          And yet have I the feeling that the poor old witch was speaking to me.






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SERVANT OF THE SCORPION – Chapter 13, The Curandero

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SERVANT OF THE SCORPION – Chapter 13, The Curandero


            We all just stared at Irma who was sobbing on top of Garra’s limp body.

            Arturo found his wits first, “Irma, he can’t breathe.”  Irma instantly rose up on her knees and clasped her hands together in front of her face.  Garra coughed and gasped.

            “He’s choking on blood!” she cried.  Garra began to sit up but inhaled sharply and collapsed back to the floor.

            Arturo raised Irma to her feet with his big gentle hands and nudged her over to Lucas.  He bent near to Garra’s face and said with terrible calmness, “You have a shattered ribcage and will probably puncture a lung and drown in your own blood.  If you try to speak a piece of your face will fall into your lung and you will suffocate.  Stop moving.  Turn you head to the side and breathe through your nose.”

            Garra turned his head and blew a glob of blood out his nose, winced and began taking short breaths.

            Esmeralda said to Lucas, “Check the entrance to make sure Garra was alone and be careful.

            Arturo added, “And bring back a wood panel to set Garra on.  We’re going to have to move him.”

            I tried to stand up but I was instantly consumed by vertigo.  I plopped right back on my tailbone.  Arturo said to me, “You have a concussion.  Don’t move yet.”

            Lucas returned with a piece of wood panel about the size of Garra.  “Things look normal out there.”

            “What about Rosalinda?” cried Irma.

            “I got ahold of the others.  They are on their way to the orphanage right now.”

            Arturo supervised the placing of the wood panel under Garra.  Arturo lifted Garra’s head and shoulders a fraction of an inch.  Lucas lifted Garra’s torso only slightly by holding onto Garra’s belt.  Esmeralda slid the panel completely underneath him.  They all lifted the makeshift stretcher and shuffled Garra into an adjacent room.  Lucas came back for me and held me erect while I moved my feet into the same room.  There were decorative carved blocks hanging on the wall.  They had set Garra and his wood panel onto a table.  They set me in a nearby chair.

            Esmeralda said, “We need to get back.  Arturo, will you be alright?”  Arturo fluttered his hand for them to depart.

            “Alonzo, you stay here for now.  If you can stand without falling…”

            “Or puking,” added Lucas.

            Esmeralda continued, “…you can help Arturo, OK?”

            I nodded emphatically and I instantly felt like a wave had swept up my head and dropped it back down again.  “Whoa!”

            “You can believe me that we must go now!” insisted Irma.

            So I was left watching Arturo tend to Garra.  He opened a box on a nearby shelf and recited to himself, “Calahuala is very good for the broken bones and Ek’ Balam will heal the wounded blood vessels.  Chaya will help healing as well.  Bakalche’ bark will close the wounded muscles.”

            “You sound like my friend Roberto with his ‘medicinal plants’” I said.

            “Oh?  Is he a Curandero?  A healer?”

            “You might say that.”

            Arturo smiled, “Does he heal the body or the mind?”

            “You would say the mind.”


            Arturo mashed herbs in a small bowl and then added a dark liquid, “Chacah,” he said for my benefit, I guess, “A bowl of medicinal chocolate to help it all go down.”

            Garra was focused on his own fragile breathing.  I think our conversation pained him.   Arturo finally leaned over his ear and said, “Turn your head slowly and face up.  I’m going to drip some medicine down your throat.  Hold your breath when I do.  Understand?”

            Garra raised and lowered his eyebrows in acknowledgement and even that was painful for him.

            “OK.  Now” said Arturo and he slowly dripped the dark sauce down Garra’s throat.  Garra coughed.

            “I said don’t breath.”

            Arturo set the bowl down and told Garra to turn his head to the side once again and just wait.

            “Arturo, where did you learn medicine?”

            “When I was born this way,” he made a sweeping gesture with both hands, “it was expected of me.  A big fat pink-eyed albino Mayan obviously had to be tight with the gods.  It was lucky that as a child I was interested in herbs and medicines anyway.”

            “Why do you have a wood carving business if you are, like, a doctor?”

            “Doctors heal the rich.  Curanderos heal the poor in the name of Ch’ulel.  If I wanted to be rich in gratitude and dinners I would have remained only a Curandero.  But I need more than dinners.  I need dinero.”

            “Ch’ulel?  Is that God?”

            “Well, not yours.”

            “Your Brotherhood runs a church for Christ’s sake.  Do you believe in all that or not?”

            “I believe the world is uncaring.  I believe the world is indifferent to its own existence.   Mercy, forgiveness, kindness are the flowers of Man and Woman.  They are what Man and Woman alone bring into the world.  Cruelty and selfishness are already here for the taking.”

            Garra moaned drowsily as the medicine took effect.

            I said, “Arturo, I’ve met Rosalinda.  If this guy is her father, what is her mother like?”

            “Irma is Rosalinda’s mother.”


            “She was in Garra’s gang.  When Irma became pregnant she finally woke up and wanted to leave the gang life.  Esmeralda helped her and her baby Rosalinda to escape.  Irma was given a hiding place in the Mudéjar orphanage.  Esmeralda took Rosalinda to the United States.”

            “Why did she bring Rosalinda back here?”

            “That is something that Esmeralda will tell you when she is ready.”

            This was all too much for me, “Who are you people?” I asked in exasperation.

            Arturo made a face of mock indignity, “We are Christian soldiers!”

            “So where did Lucas learn to fight like that?  I’d like to learn that.”

            “Lucas was taught by Pastor Maximón.  And Pastor Maximón will be at the orphanage tomorrow.”  Arturo winked, “He’s making a TV commercial.”

            Garra groaned.

            Arturo handed me a small yellow vegetable pod, “This is for your concussion.  Chew it slowly and don’t swallow the fibers.”

            I began chewing it carefully in the front of my mouth.  It was bitter.  After a few seconds numbness began to radiate from my lips in concentric circles over my face, my head, my neck and on down my whole body.  Finally I had no bodily sensations left at all.  I felt good having no feelings.

            Then I heard myself think “The world is my body.”






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lights on water


ستایش خداوند


        The winter sun crept up through the pine trees along Morro Bay. The parking lot of the Morro Bay Realty office was a Christmas tree lot for a few weeks during the holiday season. The Morro Bay Realty office was a long mobile home. Owner Bill Bloch would earn extra money selling Christmas trees during this slow-down in real estate sales.

        Merry Christopher with her 15-year old daughter Christina drove onto the Morro Bay Realty parking lot, their backseat stuffed like Santa’s sack with blankets, clothes, bags, and suitcases all of which were obscuring their rear window. There was a folded tent lashed to the car’s roof.

        Merry Christopher parked her car and got out and approached Bill Bloch who was surveying his little forest of Christmas trees from the steps of the mobile home-office.

        Bill smiled down on Merry and said, “Doesn’t look like you’re here for a tree.”

        Merry tried to smile and said, “Hello. I’m Merry Christopher. I was wondering: would you have any work for me? Any at all?”

        Bill looked past the top of Merry’s head toward her car stuffed with belongings.

        Merry followed his gaze and then explained, “That is my daughter Christina. She’s fifteen. We’re… moving here to Morro Bay. And I just need to find a job.”

        Bill mulled, “Moving without a job? Jeez, pretty bold. You know,… Morro Bay is a pretty small town. There isn’t much work at this time…,” then he asked, “Where are you staying?”

        Merry answered, “In our car, it seems like. There are no vacancies at any hotels around here. We’ll be camping out along the coast somewhere,” then she added softly, “We’re getting used to it.”

        Bill said, “Hey, maybe the hotels can use help?”

        Merry shook her head, “I’ve asked. It seems most of the locals grabbed the ‘extra’ seasonal jobs.”

        Bill said, “Yeah… when fishing is slow the locals do odd-jobs.”

        Merry’s shoulders slumped.

        Bill looked up. Cottony clouds sailed southeastward overhead as the river of cold air flowed from the incoming North Pacific storm system.

        Bill said after a few thoughtful moments, “Well… I’ve got an empty office in the back of the mobile home. I suppose you could sleep there a couple days, OK. But…it really is just a mangy little room.”

        Merry’s eyes lit up, “Oh thank you, bless you,…?”

        Bill smiled, “I’m Bill. Bill Bloch. This is my business here. Just making a little extra money this time of year, you know.”

        Merry reached up and took Bill’s hand in both of her hands and shook it, “Thank you so much. I didn’t want my daughter sleeping in a wet tent. I mean, I don’t care about myself. But she…”

        Bill said, “Sure. The room’s just back here on this side.”

        Merry trotted to her car and nodded at Christina’s questioning face. Christina hopped in her seat and then covered her face as she began to cry with relief.

        Merry spoke to Christina through the door window as Christina rolled it down, “I didn’t get a job but we have a place to sleep.”

        Christina said, “Oh. OK…”, and then in unison with her mother she said, “Day by day it’ll be OK, Thank you Jesus.” and they both smiled.

        As Merry and Christina carried in their overnight essentials into the mobile home, passing Bill who held the door open, they both thanked him again and again and their eyes were red and glistening.

        Bill muttered, “I suppose there could be work here….”

        The inside of the long mobile home was cold. Merry and Christina shuffled past the office desk and files and on down the hallway to the vacant little room. It even had a little window that you could open by cranking. And they were right next to a little bathroom. Christina dropped her armload on the floor. Merry did the same. They both laughed with nervous exhaustion. Then Merry began to spread the sleeping bags into the corner and to stack her boxes and bags of toiletries.

        Christina said, “I don’t want to complain but I’m freezing.”

        Merry went into the narrow hallway and found the thermostat. She called to Bill, “Excuse me, Mr. Bloch, would it be OK to turn up some heat? My daughter is cold.”

        Bill couldn’t help calculating the increase in his heating bill but he said, “Sure. It’s going to be a cold storm tonight. Just close as many windows as you can…”

        Merry went back into the little room and kneeled with Christina on their sleeping bags. They prayed. Then Merry hugged Christina and they both laid themselves next to each other on the sleeping bags, just to relax a minute, and Christina wept herself to sleep.

        Merry got up carefully and went into the little kitchen area carrying a bag. In the kitchen she unpacked a jar of instant coffee and a little box of sugar and a box of powdered milk.

        She asked Bill, “Do you mind if I boil some water for coffee?”

        Bill said, “No. In fact make a pot.”

        Merry found a stained coffee pot in the little cupboard and rinsed it out as best she could, then she filled it with water and turned on the little gas burner on the little stove. She stood and stared at the refraction of currents in the heating water.

        When it began to boil Merry spooned-out instant coffee and stirred the coffee pot. She judged the strength of the coffee by the aroma it gave off. She could feel the current of warm air from the heating system upon her face and she began to feel cozy.

        Outside a pick-up truck loaded with some more trees pulled into the parking lot.

        Bill Bloch waved at the driver who was getting out of the truck, “Hey, Darius. Hey, ‘Dar he is’!”

        The slender swarthy man getting out of the truck stood tall and said, “Yes, always amusing, my friend. These are the last of my trees.”

        From the passenger side of the truck three young boys danced out. Darius said, “My sons, do not go far. We must unload these trees and then we are done.”

        Bill waved, “Hello, boys.”

        The three boys answered shyly, “Hello, Mr. Bloch.”

        One boy said, “Can I have a drink of water?” the second boy said, “Me, too,” and the third boy, the youngest, said, “I need to use the bathroom.”

        Bill nodded, “Sure,” and the three boys bounced up the steps of the mobile home-office and entered.

        When the three boys saw Merry near the stove sipping coffee they halted and stared shyly.

        Merry said, “Hello, there.”

        The two older boys mumbled, “Hello, ma’am,” but the youngest boy cried, “I need to use the bathroom!” and he pushed past his brothers and Merry stood aside and waved him clear to proceed down the narrow hallway.

        Darius entered the mobile home and upon seeing Merry he said, “Oh.”

        Merry said, “Hello.”

        Darius said, “I am Darius Rouhani,” then he grinned and said, “Dar he is,” and then he said, “I see you have met my sons.”

        Merry said, “I am Merry Christopher.”

        The elder boy snickered and said, “You sound like Merry Christmas.”

        Darius scolded his son, “Don’t be rude like that, ever!”

        Merry was conciliatory and bent down to the boy saying, “My parents named me ‘Merry’, M-E-R-R-Y, not ‘Mary’ M-A-R-Y. They were religious but they had a strange sense of humor.”

        Darius smiled. His son grinned and looked away, saying, “OK. I am sorry I was rude.”

        Merry smiled, “Oh, you weren’t rude. You were a boy,” and she looked up at Darius who made a wry face.

        Darius said, “This rude boy is my eldest son. He is thirteen. His name is Hormi. His brother next to him is Yazdeg. He is ten. And the youngest, he is eight, wherever he is… Peroz! Where are you?

        Peroz cried from the bathroom, “I am making a peef!”

        Darius covered his eyes as his two sons beside him giggled.

        Merry said, “That is OK. I have a daughter who is fifteen. Her name is Christina.”

        Darius said, “OK, Miss Merry, you win. One daughter is more trouble than three sons.”

        Merry laughed.

        Darius asked, “Are you working for Bill, if I may ask?”

        Merry shrugged, “With the grace of God, yes.”

        Darius nodded and intoned, “KHOH-dah-rah SHOH-kr (Praise the Lord).”

        Merry said, “Oh, I’m sorry, would you like some coffee?”

        Bill, who had just entered, said, “Don’t bother. Darius likes his coffee Turkish. He likes coffee you can chew.”

        Darius’ youngest son Peroz emerged from the bathroom just as Merry’s daughter Christina was exiting the little make-shift bedroom. Almost wedging together, Peroz looked up at Christina and said, “I am sorry I stink.”

        Christina, hands in the pockets of her bulky sweater, hugged herself and asked sleepily of her mother, “What is up?”

        Merry said, “Christina, this is Darius and these are his three sons…uh, …,” and looking at Darius she said softly, “I’m sorry…”

        Darius came to Merry’s aid and said, “This young man is Hormi. This young gentleman is Yazdeg. And this…stinker.. is Peroz.”

        Peroz was embarrassed and he said as he twisted himself, “Daaa-ad.”

        Darius scolded, “Well, I heard you name yourself just a moment ago in the hallway. In front of a young woman.”

        Bill spoke up, “Hey, everyone. It’s gonna start pouring any minute. Darius, why don’t you stay here for awhile? You don’t want to be driving with your boys in what’s coming,” and he bent over to address Hormi, Yazdeg, and Peroz, saying, “Why don’t you pick a Christmas tree and bring it in. We can decorate it.”

        The three boys yelled, “Yah!” and then they looked sheepishly at their father Darius who scolded them with his expression.

        Merry said, “I can help.”

        Christina said, “I can, too.”

        Merry whispered to Christina, “I don’t know if that is a good idea.”

        Christina said to the three boys, “Let’s go before the flood!”

        They all together unloaded the last of the Christmas trees from the pick-up truck and then they selected by acclaim the plumpest one that would fit in the mobile home-office.

        As they maneuvered the chosen Christmas tree through the mobile home-office doorway the waves of rain began to strafe loudly upon the parking lot and upon the mobile home roof.

        The three boys squealed with excitement at the loud popping of raindrops on the metal roof of the mobile home.

        Bill got a box out of a closet and boomed, “Here are some tree decorations,” and then more softly, “I haven’t seen these since I … my wife…”

        Hormi nailed the wooden cross support into the base of the Christmas tree as Yazdeg and Peroz held it horizontal.

        Peroz chimed, “Smells so gooood.”

        Bill said, “I’ll make hot chocolate for our hard workers and we big kids can have some ‘Tennessee Coffee’,” then he began to sing comically, “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Jack Daniels nipping at your nose…

        Hormi, Yazdeg, and Peroz erected the Christmas tree. Merry, Darius, and Christina began to place ornaments upon the higher branches.

        Merry said to Darius, “The boys are so cute. It is a shame that their mother is missing this.”

        Darius pursed his lips and said, “Their mother is no longer with us.”

        Bill explained for Merry’s sake, “Darius and his wife were teachers in Syria. Darius was… is a Professor of Linguistics…”

        Darius said, “I am a ranch hand on the Rossini Ranch. Mr. Rossini lets me harvest Christmas trees from his ranch.”

        Merry said, “It must be a good place to raise three boys.”

        Darius answered, “It could be worse.”

        Merry said, “They seem so bright.”

        Darius said, “Yes. They will become Engineers to please the memory of their mother.”

        Merry said, “May I ask what happened to their mother?”

        Darius said, “A Muslim man is allowed to marry a Christian woman, but a Christian man is not permitted to marry a Muslim woman. Islam means equality and no discrimination, but we were not permitted to marry. Aabirah was a mathematician. We both taught at the University of Aleppo. We married anyway and we had three strong sons.”

        Bill could see that Darius had choked-up and so he continued on his behalf, saying, “During the civil war in Syria his wife… Aabirah… was killed when the government used poison gas on a group of rebels.”

        Darius could speak again, saying, “She was not a rebel, she was just standing in the market place when they took her hostage. I took my sons and I fled Syria. It was a miracle that I was allowed sanctuary in the United States…”

        Merry could only say softly, “Praise the Lord,” and then she offered as a way to change the mood, “My Christina wants to be a Minister.”

        Darius turned to Christina and said, “That is fine. Do you know that ‘Christopher’ means ‘bearing Christ’? In your heart.”

        Christina smiled and nodded and then she whispered to her mother, “And even Jesus was homeless and persecuted.”

        Bill handed Darius and Merry each a cup of ‘Tennessee Coffee’. Suddenly they were all again aware of the drumming rain.

        Hormi, Yazdeg, and Peroz were watching the rain through the mobile home windows.

        Peroz said, “I can see the Christmas tree in the window! It looks like it is out in the parking lot.”

        Christina sat beside her mother as Merry, Darius, and Bill sat down to talk.

        Bill said, “So, Merry. Moving here without a job…? What is your story?”

        Merry glanced at Christina and said, “Not much. My second husband, Christina’s step-father, was a God-fearing man at first. Then he became mean to us. He was especially… mean… to Christina. I couldn’t take it anymore. I left with what I could cram in my car. We’ve been living like transients for months…”

        Darius said, “I am so sorry. You are a good person. God can be so mysterious with his intentions.”

        Suddenly, there was a flash of lightning and a crash of thunder. Hormi, Yazdeg, and Peroz squeeled loudly, “Whoa!”

        Christina glanced over at the boys and nervously parted her bulky sweater and then she began to rub her little pot belly with both hands.

        Darius saw this and he turned to Merry.

        Merry was observing Christina with concern. Then Merry turned and met the eyes of Darius which held his question.

        Merry returned the answer to him with her eyes.

        Darius then realized just how ‘mean’ the step-father had been to Christina. Darius suddenly asked Merry, “Do you know anything about horses?”

        Merry was surprised and answered, “Yes. My parents had horses. They were my responsibility for years.”

        Darius continued thoughtfully, “Mr. Rossini needs someone to care for his horses now that Mrs. Rossini is… not able to give them the attention they need. There is even a small bunk-house next to the stables where you could live decently for a while. I could speak to Mr. Rossini…”

        Bill was already a little drunk and he raised his coffee to Merry, saying, “You have risen!”

        Merry scowled involuntarily at her benefactor, Bill, but she was thrilled and she tried to give a composed response to Darius, “That would be ideal, I think, … thank you…Praise the Lord…”

        Darius continued, “In fact, on Christmas day Mr. Rossini hosts a big holiday Bab-A-Kew. You could come as my guest.”

        Bill chuckled, “That’s Bar-B-Que.”

        Darius said, “You come too, Bill.”

        Merry turned to Christina and said, “Did you hear that?”

        Bill was answering Darius, “Naw. On Christmas day they always hold a reservation for me at the Sassy Wok.”

        Christina said quietly, “Day by day it’ll be OK, Thank you Jesus.”

        Christina rubbed her little pot belly.






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        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…

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mack cobb 1 again


Chapter 1

The Arroyo of the Sombra of Death

        The lanky fellow stands upon the makeshift porch which is a plank of plywood supported by two sawhorses at the front entrance of his house trailer.  He watches the distant rooster tail of dust from the car which winds slowly up the rough dirt road toward his hilltop.

        Mack Cobb wears rumpled onto his frame a red plaid shirt, jeans, and slung around his frame is an engraved leather gun belt with a big shiny revolver.  His head is the post for a small cowboy hat which barely shades his sun-engraved face and his feet are bare and brown and discolored with calluses.

        Mack Cobb draws on his anisette-flavored cheroot and then he exhales a recollection of passages from Faulkner’s Light in August:

Though the mules plod in a steady and unflagging hypnosis, the vehicle…

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Into the party, as I gravitate

To the rugs, a couple says hello;

Bob and Cinda, fisherman and mate,

I kid you not.  Bob rolls a joint real slow

From crumbled, sticky, bud deMéxico.

He passes it.  I take a hit and blow


The rolling smoke aside and then I cough

That I’m a grad student, and I know

Marine Biology.  But, I’m off

For this semester and I’ll tell my prof

That I will make it up.  (I know he’ll scoff.)

Oh, yeah.  So what?  The job market’s a trough.


Then Cinda rises up above the cloud

Of smoke where I am playing Philosophe.

She saunters to the kitchen where its loud

With jabber bent by turning heads; the crowd

Has eyes that open wide and then beshroud


Her brown hair and the soft and whispered smile

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1)       ADOLPH MEISTERMANN (Carl Reiner Writers’ Contest Entry)

2)       THE END OF THE HOUR (excerpt from Adolph Meistermann)

3)       THE BAD BOY BLUES (excerpt from Adolph Meistermann)

4)       LAUGH THROUGH TEARS AGAINST HIS WILL (excerpt from Adolph Meistermann)

5)       GOD COUNTS HER TEARS (excerpt from Adolph Meistermann)

Chapter O


        Adolph’s visage dissolved for weeks afterward in molten tears and when the magma of anguish finally hardened it had become a terrifyingly indifferent death mask.  This mask now blockaded Adolph’s feelings except toward those who had been with him when his Shifra, the purpose of his life, and their baby together, the meaning of their love, had all died together.

        From behind this mask Adolph now witnessed the God-given world as if it were a swarm of insects.  He detached himself like a child pulling wings off of an innocent fly.

        Young Mathew…

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