Poor, Poor Pitiful Me

To paraphrase George Orwell: We are all in this together, but some of us are in it together more than others.

I’ve been reading articles and seeing clips from TV (or YouTube) where celebrities and people in general are bemoaning having to self-isolate. Or, as we used to call it, staying at home. Everyone from David Geffen to anonymous youtubers are bitching. I’m hearing what a chore it is to homeschool. People are listing the things they do so as not to go crazy. Reference after reference about binging on Netflix fill the airways. Well, buddy, not everyone can afford Netflix. Not by a long shot.

The next time your kids ask for the five thousandth time if you can play Candyland with them, think of the people on the front lines. The most obvious are the healthcare workers and hospital employees. Then come the EMS and cops. They can’t sit home. I know for the most part they’re getting their just due. And that’s the way it should be. But what about the little guy? What about the cashiers and grocery clerks that are going to work every day to keep us fed? And what about the poor people who are forced to go to those large fulfillment warehouses run by Amazon, Target, and their ilk? They can’t stay home or else they’d lose their jobs. No health insurance for them. And definitely no unemployment insurance. How are they gonna feed the kids and pay their rent?

Think how you would like it if you were forced to go out every day during this plague and have to aimlessly wander around a crowded store for eight hours. Think on how you’d feel hearing constant coughing and sneezing from adjacent aisles all during those eight hours.

That’s what these low-paid workers have to go through every day. And they’ve been doing so for well over two weeks now. They’re working cheek to jowl, so to speak. If the guy next to them coughs, there ain’t much they can do about it. They are scared to death. And I, for one, don’t blame them for being scared. Complaining to the boss does no good whatsoever. The boss is worried about his or her job, too. She has to keep those boxes getting filled and moving on down the line to shipping. Because her boss, sitting safely at home and running things from his computer, is keeping tabs on how many boxes are being shipped per hour.

And what are in those boxes that we so desperately need? Plastic flowers, a spatula to go with that new frying pan you bought yesterday, maybe a new workout outfit or a yoga mat.

I can tell you this: If those warehouse workers were sending out masks, gloves, or other items to keep us safe, I know they wouldn’t mind putting their lives at risk. But for travel gear that you can’t possibly use until this mess is over … really?

Oh shit … here come the kids. They’ll be wanting to play Candyland or Chutes and Ladders again.

Poor, poor pitiful me.

The Green, Green Grass of Home

Jake

The sun sends its warm rays down onto the world, onto the trees, and onto the green, green grass of my home. God is in his Heaven as I lie here in my grave. I killed a man. I killed him out of fear, fear of losing my love. But I lost her anyway when they hung me from the old oak that stands out front of the courthouse.

My name ain’t important … hell, I ain’t important to no one no more, except maybe the worms that crawl through my body and feast on my rotting flesh.

I had me some bottomland, good bottomland, only forty acres, but it was mine. I had cleared it and planted corn and sorghum in the spring of ’85. I was a man in love. Her name was Faith and she was the most beautiful woman in the world, at least to me.

I’ve never been around womenfolk all that much, so I wasn’t prepared when I first saw her. I was in town for supplies. I had just finished loading the wagon when she walked by. She looked like an angel. Her hair was a golden color—the color of sunlight. Her eyes were gray. She made my legs quaver. I fell in love.

I did not see her again until the grange meeting. I went because the topic of discussion was to be water rights. I had my water, but if someone was going to take some of it, I needed to know about it beforehand. She sat stately in the front row. Nothing much was accomplished at the meeting. Afterward, I stood outside lighting my pipe when she walked up to me. She was so beautiful.

“Hello, Mister MacDonald, my name is Faith Simpson. My people own the land next to yours. We just moved here from the East and I’ve been wanting to meet you.”

That was the beginning. Before I knew it, her family had my water and she had my heart.

On the third moon of our meeting, we were betrothed.

Then, on a cold, dark night, I made the mistake of my life. She was standing on a chair, putting up curtains in my cabin. She was getting it ready for when she would live there. Jim Peters—from a ways up on the mountain—had come down on his way to town and stopped by when he saw the light in the window.

I know now that I was mistaken, but this is what I saw as I walked up to the cabin. Through the window I saw her in his arms. Now I know that she had stumbled and Jim had caught her before she hit the floor. But I didn’t know that back then. I pulled my gun and sent Jim Peters to another world.

It was a mistake. It was my blunder, and for that I lie here alone in my grave and try to feel the warm sun on the green, green grass of my home.

Hard Love

Our love was a soft love because we made no demands on one another; our lovemaking was soft and sweet. She was soft and gentle, and she gave me her soft and gentle love.

*****

I’ve been on the dodge for two days now. There are men looking for me—who want to kill me.

It’s a long story, but anyway you look at it I am slated to die. The only thing that matters right now is that I get to Julie. I have to fade away, and I need her to go with me.

I was doing work for these guys and something went wrong. What went wrong is not important now. Just know they want me dead. However, my saving grace is that they do not know about Julie … yet.

I’m on my way to Julie … and I will be with her. We will live our lives together or I will be killed trying to reach her. They know my car, and men have been sent out to find me.

Julie lives off of Pico near the Sunset Strip. I drive by her apartment and see her car, she’s home.

I park a block away, and before getting out of my car, I slide the 9mm into my back pocket. Just as a precaution. My plan is to tell her to pack for an overnight trip. I’ll buy her whatever she needs or wants once we get to where we are going … if we get to where we are going.

I scan the neighborhood as I approach her building. All is clear.

She is happy to see me and I con her into thinking I am going to take her to the mountains for a two-day romantic holiday.

She has packed a bag that I am carrying and we are on the street when all hell breaks loose. The first bullet whizzes by my ear, the second hits me in the shoulder and spins me halfway around.

The first thing I do is push Julie to the ground, and then I pull my 9mm. There are three of them. The first is an easy target. He is only yards away; a bullet to his right eye takes care of him. The second is half hidden behind a Mercedes, it takes two shots and he is splayed on the street, his lifeblood flowing into the gutter.

The third assassin is running for his life; we are safe for now. But he fired at me when Julie was with me. He might have killed her and for that he must die. There are no pedestrians. I take my stance and take my time. When he is sighted, I squeeze the trigger. I do not wait for him to fall; I know that he is already dead.

I reach down and extend my hand to Julie lying on the pavement. When she is on her feet, I wipe the tears from her eyes and tell her that we have the rest of our lives to discuss what just happened, but right then we had to hightail it before the cops showed up. She didn’t ask any damn fool questions. Instead, she smiled at me, touched the blood seeping through my jacket, and said, “Let’s go.” That is one of the many reasons I love her.

That was three years ago. We are now living somewhere I do not care to mention. Our first child is on the way. Julie is so radiant. I found a job as a mechanic at a local repair shop and for the first time since I was a kid, I do not have to sleep with a gun under my pillow. We are very happy. Our love is no longer soft. It’s hard as granite, as hard as the earth upon which we stand. It is a hard love. A good love.

 

 

What a Deal!!!

You get Danny the Dog for a lousy 99 cents. And maybe a few laughs along the way. Order now while there are still a few left. Oh, wait. It’s an eBook, so there’ll be plenty. And please don’t order the paperback. At $25.00 it’s rather expensive. I think Danny would want you to save your money (after you buy the eBook) and spend it on something worthwhile. Like beer … or whatever pleases your fancy.

I Once Had a Girl

I once had a girl. She was from Norway, but we met in New York City at a jazz club on the Upper West Side. My friend Lane had dragged me there; telling me that I would really dig the sax player. I didn’t want to go because I was broke and I was embarrassed that Lane was always picking up the check when we when out. But he persisted, so I went with him that warm August night. It was a night that changed my life forever.

Lane and I were from upstate New York, we had been friends since high school. We were both going to be writers and write the Great American Novel. And here we were, a few years later. Lane wrote copy for an ad agency and I wrote short stories that no one would buy.

I was twenty years old and had just dropped out of college. I wanted to be a writer and I did not think college was the way to go about it. I thought the only way to be a writer was to write. So I headed for the big city, found myself a roach-infested apartment, and opened my laptop. I got lucky and sold my first short story to a weekly newspaper. It was a free paper, but they did print fiction. They paid me all of twenty-five dollars for it.

After that, I figured it would be only a matter of time before I had The New Yorker knocking at my door wanting me to write my genius fiction for them, and if not The New Yorker, then at least The Village Voice. Well, things did not work out that way. Six months later, I had not sold another story. The newspaper that had bought my first story was long out of business as I contemplated my future. I was nearing the end of my savings and something would have to break soon or I would have to get a job.

Something did break, but not in the way I thought it would.

Unbeknownst to me, Lane and his girlfriend, Sally, set me up with a blind date. When we got to the club, I saw Sally sitting at a table with a blonde. I immediately grabbed Lane’s arm and halted his progress toward the table. “What’s the deal?” I asked in a low voice. Then added, “If Sally is trying to set me up again, I’m leaving. You know I don’t have any money to date.”

With a phony and shocked look on his face, Lane said, “No, no, it’s nothing like that. It’s just that the poor girl is in town and doesn’t know anyone. Sally’s mother and her mother were friends. Sally’s looking out after her, that’s all. Don’t worry; she’s not your date. And she’s got plenty of money; she can pay her own way.”

With a sigh and a shake of my head, I said, “Lay on, Macduff.”

We seated ourselves at the table and I was introduced to the blonde. Sally started right off yakking away, but I heard nothing she said. I was looking into the eyes of the blonde. They were green, the color of emeralds—they were sad eyes. She was good-looking in a not-glamorous sort of way, but there was something about her. Something that made me want to put my arms around her and tell her everything would be all right. That night I fell in love … head over heels. To me, she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. But she looked vulnerable, and she had those big sad eyes. Her name was Karina.

We talked and ignored both the music and Lane and Sally. When Sally saw where things were going, she nudged Lane and said they had to go, but that we should stay. As they left, out of the corner of my eye, I saw Lane hand some money to our waitress and point our way. He had made sure that I would not be embarrassed for lack of funds.

The music was really too loud to carry on a conversation, so I suggested that we go somewhere more conducive to getting to know one another. I had no hope that she felt toward me as I felt toward her, but I just couldn’t let her go out of my life until I knew everything about her.

We settled in at a Starbucks and talked until the early morning. Her parents were both dead and had left her relatively well off. She was in the States because she owned a cabin in North Carolina, up in the mountains, and she had come here to sell it. At twenty-two, she was two years older than I was. But that was okay with me; I liked older women. I prattled on about my writing and she said that she would like to read some of my stuff someday. Someday? I wanted her to read my stories right then and there. But I held my tongue.

As I walked her to her hotel, she slipped her arm through mine and we walked on in silence. My feet never once touched the ground.

We said goodnight in the lobby. She looked at me with those big, sad eyes. “Please, may I see you tomorrow and read some of your stories?” Normally, I would let anyone read my stuff at the drop of a hat, even if I had to drop the hat myself. But in this instance, I was reluctant to say yes. I didn’t want her to see how I lived. I mean, she was staying at the Plaza, for God’s sake! After a momentary hesitation, I told her I could bring my laptop over the next day and would be proud to have her read a few of my stories. She would have to read them off my computer because I did not own a printer. We set a time and I left. We shook hands—we did not kiss goodnight.

Well, the short of it is, she was as smitten with me as I was with her. Why, I don’t know. She postponed her trip south and stayed in the city. We saw each other every day. Sally must have told her about my financial situation, because Karina always insisted we go someplace that cost no money. We hit the art galleries and the museums, among other venues. Central Park was our favorite. As we walked through the park, the sunshine dappled on the grass and would ripple in her yellow hair like waves upon a sparkling ocean. At the end of two weeks, we both knew we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together.

Karina liked my writing and told me I should be writing a full-length novel. Then, when that sold, I could put out a book of my short stories. No wonder I loved her, she believed in me more so than I believed in myself.

One day, as we lay on a blanket in the park holding hands (we still had not made love), Karina asserted herself. She told me in no uncertain terms that she was taking me to her cabin in North Carolina. She would cook and clean for me while I wrote my novel, and then when it sold, I could take care of her.

She stood and took my hand. I raised myself from the ground and, forgetting the blanket, we hurried back to The Plaza. We made long, slow love all that afternoon—and then again all that night.

We hit the mountains of North Carolina as the leaves were changing. It was the perfect metaphor. Our lives were changing—we were melding into one entity.

As the snows came, I wrote and Karina loved me. Truth be known, I didn’t feel like writing. I just wanted to make love to my girl. But Karina made sure I stayed at the computer at least six hours a day.

As the snows melted and the leaves slowly returned to the trees, my book took form. Karina would read what I had written each day. She would correct my mistakes and give me input as to the characters and  plot. As I sat there in the evenings, seeing the firelight reflected in her eyes while she read my daily output, I fell in love with her all over again.

When spring was in full bloom, the book also bloomed. I had completed my version of the Great American Novel. I emailed my query letters to agents. Within a month, I had a signed contract. When summer came around, the book had been sold to a publisher and I had money in the bank. Now I could take care of my Karina.

It was August once again, almost to the day that Karina and I first met. We were leaving the next day for New York. My agent had set up a meeting with my new editor. There was still work to be done. Writing the story is one thing, getting it out there is another. However, before leaving, I wanted to buy something for my love.

I went into town and bought Karina a ring. Nothing fancy, just a simple band of gold. I was going to ask her to be my wife. I couldn’t wait to get back to the cabin, get down on one knee, and tell her of my love for her.

I saw the smoke long before I turned into the drive to our cabin. Then I saw the flames. I stopped the car and ran to the cabin where I heard her screams. Those screams will never leave me.

“KARINA!” I shouted as I rushed the door.

When I pushed open the door, a blast of heat and flames knocked me on my ass. I got up; nothing short of hell was going to keep me out of that cabin. And that is exactly what kept me out . . . hell. I could not penetrate the flames. On my third attempt, the burns and resultant pain caused me to pass out. When I awoke, I was in a hospital’s burn ward.

Karina was gone and I was alone.

I sold the rights to my book to my agent. I couldn’t edit and work on it with anyone else now that Karina was gone. I took the money and bought a sailboat down in Miami. I had Karina painted on the sides in large letters the color of her eyes. I now sail the Caribbean, going from island to island, looking for nothing … and finding nothing. I’m certainly not finding relief for the pain in my heart.

I once had a girl. Karina was her name.

Danny Returns!!!

Danny the Dog

Danny the Dog is a prolific writer. He’s written articles for bloggers around the world and has his own very popular blog where he dispenses his wisdom on a monthly basis. He’s humorous, clever, charming, delightful, and sometimes irascible. Or, as he would phrase it, “I’m a purveyor of wit, wisdom, and words.”

In My Name Is Danny, Danny writes about his real-life adventures living on a boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with his human, Andrew. He tells of their trials and tribulations … and the love they have for one another.

Got Love

DeadMy name is Tommy and I have something to say. I’m twenty-one, and I’m in love for the very first time in my life. I want to tell you about it. I want to tell the world about it!

My parents were killed in an automobile accident when I was five. Having no other family, I was placed in foster care. I went through many families. Some cared and some did not. Some were in it for the money, some thought they were doing good, but they all had one thing in common. Not one of them ever made me feel loved.

Two weeks before my eighteenth birthday, I walked away from my last foster family. They weren’t so bad, but still there was no love. I put out my thumb. I was heading for Montana. Maybe I could get a job on a ranch and become a modern-day cowboy.

Outside of Kansas City, Kansas, with the sun sinking fast and turning the western sky a rich pink, I contemplated God. At least He got His sunsets and sunrises right. But He still has some work to do as far as I’m concerned, were my thoughts as I waited for my next ride.

A lemon-yellow, 1973 Ford Thunderbird screeched to a halt. I opened the door and the driver said, “I’m heading to San Francisco, that do you any good?” I nodded and climbed in.

The driver introduced himself as Bryant. He was a few years older than I was. He said that he made his living working with computers. Within minutes of being picked up, the sun fell below the horizon and the stars were starting to make their nightly appearance. We did not speak as we sped across the prairie. Well, not at first, but then Bryant started a conversation that lasted until we hit Colorado. We talked about everything under the sun: Religion, politics, women, sports, death and taxes. By the time we hit the state line, I had decided to continue on with Bryant all the way to San Francisco. Forget Montana!

We hit Boulder well after midnight. He pulled into the parking lot of a cheap motel and said, “I’m getting a room and you are welcome to share it. If not, I’ll be leaving at first light. If  see you on the road, I’ll pick you up.”

Halfway out of the car, he stopped and sat back down. “How stupid of me. You must be hungry. Let’s rustle us up some food, then you can do what you want.”

He was right, I was hungry. I had not eaten all day. We found a diner still open and ordered a couple of hamburgers.

Now this next part is kind of dicey … kind of private, but it is germane to the story, so here goes. At school, and in my life, I had never been attracted to girls. They were just there, part of the landscape. I was never aroused by a well-rounded ass in tight jeans. Tits did nothing for me; a smile from a pretty girl did not start my heart a-racing. However, at gym class and in the showers, I found myself thinking that the male body was so much more beautiful than a female’s. But I did not dwell on it. I wasn’t no fucking faggot!

After we had our greasy hamburgers and fries, we went back to the motel and Bryant got himself a room. As I was getting my bag out of his car, he said, “Up to you, kid. You want to sleep outside or inside?”

I chose inside.

There was only one bed, so I figured I’d sleep on the floor.

After the lights were out, Bryant said, “There is plenty of room over here. If you want, we can share the bed.”

I wanted to share the bed with him. I was attracted to him, but I was no faggot. Or was I?

I got myself up, slid beneath the covers, and felt his warm body. He did not make a move toward me. He did not touch me. I found myself getting hard, and I reached out and touched his face. He took my face in his hands and drew me to him. We kissed; it was my first kiss ever. His tongue probed—he was gentle.

Today, I am with the most loving man in the world. Bryant does his computer thing and I take care of the house.

I give love.

I get love.

I got love.

Amen.