Category Archives: CHAPTER 08 – Vanity

Rainbow Tribe

rainbowtribe1280When I first met her, she was wearing nothing but her panties and high heels. It happened to be in a topless bar, and she was on stage. The song she had just danced to, was from a movie I loved. When she got through with her set, I invited her over for a drink. We started on the song, moved to authors, existentialism and the meaning of life. In the midst of this intellectual conversation in the strangest of places to start one, I suddenly realized she wasn’t hustling me for drinks or dances.

Needless to say, we became friends and watched each others learning process through life. Her stage career was a very short one. She turned into an entrepreneur, and collected the nickname that followed her through life. She was the “rose lady”. She made a deal with a number of bars and would come in walk around, sell roses singularly to the men trying to impress the women. Then she would give the bar its cut of the sales. Over time, she built up the number of bars to where she had to have three or four women working for her.

That was around the time I broke free from working for other people and started my own computer business. So we had lots of entrepreneurial things to share. I would come by in the early evenings and help her get the roses ready for that evening. I confess to having more than a little bit of a crush on her. Aside from being drop dead gorgeous, she was one of the most down to earth people I had met. She had a tendency to fall for the drop dead handsome guys, that turned out to be real jerks and was aware that she kept making the same mistake. My romantic daydreams never came to pass, but she would sidetrack me without making me feel embarrassed or foolish. Somewhere along the road of life, we diverged, but still remained friends. She chose a path that was diametrically opposed to the materialistic goals of owning our own businesses.

She started living light along with becoming a non-member of a disorganization. She became one of the “Rainbow People.” They are known sometimes as the Rainbow Nation, Family or Tribe, and in many ways are the living descendants of the hippies of the sixties. In fact it started back around 1969 in California. The term “living lightly” refers to living with little impact on the environment. There was a Rainbow Gathering here in Florida that she attended, and was obviously taken with it. She started her life shift gradually and over the years became more and more involved.

It isn’t a religion, or a cult, or a political group. It doesn’t even have any leader or president or grand poobah, or anything like that. It is just a way of living. As with many who are concerned about ecology, and the resources of Mother Earth, they take these concerns to heart. It is also about music and sharing. Each year they have a gathering at some national park, which draws from 10,000 to 25,000 people. The music isn’t any particular type or genre other than the instruments have to be carried into the gatherings. So there are lots of acoustic guitars and percussion instruments. The music is available for download on the Web, for free. The music is just an expression of joy and entertainment at these gatherings. They pray for peace. Not associated with any particular church or religion, but whatever God or religion you are a part of.

In later years she visited a Rainbow community and was taken back at how easily people came and went. People pitched in and shared the work, they shared the results with all who would ask, and they didn’t “charge” for anything. She said you hear the term, “Someone who would give you the shirt off their back, but these people really lived it.” She stayed for around six months the first time, but came back to care for mother, when she got sick. I could tell she was anxious to get back to that lifestyle. This idyllic way of life isn’t for everybody and probably wouldn’t work if it was. They have problems and struggles as any group of people. It is just a nice alternative to the pressures of the lifestyle that most of us live. It harms no one, and is considerate of the Earth’s resources.

She had a daughter, who she name Rose (of course), who must be a teenager by now. Though I haven’t seen her for many years now, I bet that she still wears her trademark, rose colored glasses.

New World

neworld1280As the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria approached the strange sphere the rowers stopped their toiling, and strained to look over the sides. It appeared to be a woman’s hand supporting the sphere, but it actually floated a little above the hand. None aboard the ships, could be absolutely certain the hand was carved. There were textures to the skin and even tiny little blonde hairs.

The captains of two of the ships were brothers by the name of Pinzon. Vincente was the captain of the Nina, and Martin the captain of the Pinta. Frank Columbo was the captain of the Santa Maria and the leader of this expedition. There is some dispute over Columbo’s first name. Some historians hold that it was Philip, but most accept that it was an inside joke. Fred L. Worth, a historian entered Philip into his reference books, but in letters written to friends he admitted it was fictitious.

Columbo was originally searching for mineral rich planets in the Orient galaxy, but came too close to the gravitational pull of a black hole and was blown totally off course. In breaking the gravitational field of the black hole, they were slung in a sling shot fashion into a previously uncharted section of space. The hand and sphere proved beyond a doubt that there were some sort of humanoid species in this quadrant, but all they could see was an endless desert.

Columbo would end up making four voyages to these desert planets for a spice that ended up being more valuable than the gold and minerals they originally sought. Giant worms protected the spice, but careful collection techniques allowed them to fill the ships with it. A strange side effect of the spice was to turn the white portion of people’s eyes blue, if they used it too much. Eventually Columbo was arrested and stripped of all his titles, but the real target was to gain control of the percentages of spice he controlled.

Vietcreature

vietcreature1280He was the last of his kind. Not just the last of his family line, but the last of the species. The little people called his people the jungle ghost. He had made the annual trek to what the ruins north of Siemréab in Cambodia. They predate the more famous ones of Angkor Wat by at least three hundred years. By his people’s measurements, the temples here were built 12,000 moons ago by the chakravartin (indian concept of world ruler) as an homage to his people.

The small yellow people and his species had lived side by side for centuries. What few times their paths crossed with his people, the small ones would kowtow to them. It was considered to be bad luck to look upon a jungle ghost. In more recent years a larger and stronger people who were mainly the color of slugs came to these lands. There were some of the large people the color of lava rock, but you could tell the pale ones were the leaders. They came to kill the small yellow ones in numbers too large to count. They killed my people as well. Though I doubt they knew it.

Our kind has the ability to become one with the forest. You could walk right up to us and not see my people. The problem was the pale ones had carts that could fly like a bird. Once they had their noisy flying carts high in the air they would throw liquid fire on the jungle below. The fire was not like anything we had ever seen. It would stick to everything and water would not extinguish it. They would throw it over so large an area that it was impossible to outrun it.

Our people were never that large in numbers. The small people could have young ones every nine or ten moons, but for out people it took at least twenty-four moons for a child to form in the female. Unless killed by forest animals or accidental misfortune, our people would live through four generations of the small ones. Now for me, the passing of the moons was a lonely ordeal. This annual trip marks the passing of 480 moons, with no more of my species arriving.

I have considered throwing myself from the tall falls, and ending the loneliness, but I can’t bring myself to do it. My life is useless without the possibility of offspring, and lonely without a companion, but I still go on. I guess it is only natural that every animal of the jungle seeks to see the rising of the sun as many times as it can. Maybe that is the purpose.

Qwik Cash

qwikcash1280Most of my life there has been one best friend, and a handful of close acquaintances. I don’t seem to be able to have multiple best friends. I’ve seen others do it, but for me, life is simpler in only having to be completely open with only one soul. Sometimes it was a guy, and sometimes a woman.

When I got out of high school, and left the nest to live on my own, I went up to Memphis, Tennessee where my father lived.  I stayed with him and his new wife, until I wore out my welcome. The impending arrival of a half-sister was enough of an excuse for the new step mother to eject me from the post high school nest, because my room was intended for the baby.

I had found a job for minimum wage as a dishwasher, so getting a place entirely on my own was out of the question. I had run into a schoolmate of mine from Mississippi, who had moved to Memphis. It was decided that we would share the cost of a two bedroom apartment. There is a whole story to that experience, but for the sake of brevity, we’ll just say that it all turned out bad.

While I was sharing the apartment with my old schoolmate, I started going to a local pub called, “The Bar”. It was a fun place and I always enjoyed when I could run the joke, the bar’s name lent itself to. When asked, where I was going, or where I had been, I would reply, “The Bar”. To which the person asking would say, “Which bar?”, and I would reply, “The Bar”, with more emphasis on the word The. Okay, a bit slapstick but who says slapstick isn’t funny. Anyway, there was a bartender there who was about my age and was from Mississippi also. To protect the innocent and otherwise, I’ll call him Fred. Not that it was his name, but it makes it easier to use a name to tell the story.

In Memphis the most popular part of town for many years was Overton Square. It had the best boutiques, trendy restaurants, bars, and city sponsored events. Fred and I found an old mansion, that was in less than pristine condition, but was only two blocks from the heart of Overton Square. I had advanced my work position to a line cook and then the banquet cook. I was making a bit more money, and with Fred’s participation we could just barely manage to cover the rent and utilities. The mansion had eleven rooms, a basement and an attic. It was built in 1911 and had four huge columns supporting a porch ceiling that was two stories off the ground. Since neither of us had any money left over, and both the attic and basement were full of furniture that was also in less than pristine condition. It had been top of the line many years ago, but was now tattered and thread bare. It still managed to give the air of a movie set from a different time period, and was the location of the best parties I ever gave or attended in my life. The parade of visitors, parties, and women was never ending.

We had only been there three or four months, and my inseparable best friend and roommate vanished for a few days. Being a guy, I was concerned and thought of filing a missing person’s report, but decided that he must have run into the lady of his dreams of the moment, and was playing hooky from The Bar and home. It was rent time, and I couldn’t cover the cost of the mansion by myself and had to give it up.

When Fred eventually showed up back to work at The Bar, he was a changed person. Whatever happened that week, he wasn’t sharing it with anyone. My anger at losing the mansion gave way to concern over the drastic moodiness and depression that had gripped my best friend. It took around a month before he opened up to me and told me what happened.

He had not had enough money to cover his share of the rent on the mansion and he was depressed about it. He started drinking and drinking and then drank some more. In this state of heightened intelligence he pulled into a remote gas station in Mississippi and held up the attendant at gunpoint. He didn’t even get enough money to come close to paying the rent, so he just lay low and drank away the ill gotten proceeds.

This friend of mine, had come from a middle class family that participated regularly with church. The most illegal activities he had ever participated in were some pranks in high school that dealt with the mascot of a rival school. How he crossed over to commit such a serious crime was partially fueled by the booze, but was also tinged with shame for not being able to hold up his end of the bargain on renting the mansion. Frankly, he had gotten away completely with the crime. There were no leads at all, but Fred’s conscience was too strong to leave it behind him. His father retained a lawyer, and they managed to get a deal with the district attorney for Fred to turn himself in. The unsolved crime, and his willingness to live up to his mistake, and the fact that no one was hurt led him to a sentence of twenty months in jail, and five years probation.

Fred was my best friend for several years. His moral compass and opinions of right and wrong were so close to mine, that I couldn’t fathom how he crossed that line mentally to do such a thing. The booze was one thing, but we had both consumed more than we should have on many an occasion, and never went awry from how we had been raised. Being very young, newly able to drink, and working at a bar provided too easy an access to alcohol and young ladies, but embarrassing stories and hang-overs were the worst result of our deeds. I never could understand his decision to commit the crime, but I was glad that he still had a strong enough upbringing to confess and turn himself in. We drifted apart.

Many years later, when my fiance Robin left me, I called him. The jail time was far behind him, and he was now attending college to study some new fang led machines called computers. There were uncomfortable silences in the conversation, and it was obvious that the special connection we had as best friends was gone. But I was interested in what he had to say about computers, since I was such a die hard science fiction fan. It was that phone call that led me to making the best decision of my life. I decided to go to college and study computers too. It has led me to my own business for twenty years and was at the core of all the interesting things that happened in my adult life.

New Camera

newcamera1280In my early thirties, I wanted to become good with a camera. My father had taken me and my half sister to Europe for the first time. We saw Paris, and worked our way up the romantic highway in Germany. I had my trusty little point and shoot, which almost always took pictures in focus, and I thought that was fine until I got back and developed all the pictures. They didn’t capture the “feeling” of what I had seen, and I was determined to do better.

When I got home and showed my pictures to a couple of my friends who were into photography, they said nice things, but didn’t really mean it. I pleaded my case for them to teach me how to become a photographer and how to develop and print my own film. The only way they would agree is if I promised to use nothing but a completely manual camera for the next year. I was desperate and agreed. My manual, you have to take you own light readings, set the aperture, shutter speed, compose the picture, focus and shoot. As if that wasn’t enough, there are numerous combinations of aperture and shutter speed that will work, based on the speed of the film you chose.

They settled on a used Pentax K1000 35mm camera. The reason for Pentax was their lenses were rated second only to Leica’s glass. As neat as all the functions and gee whiz gadgets are, the bottom line is how good is the lens. So for the next year, I set about learning everything I could. I read every book they suggested and then some. I had them critique each roll of film I shot. I bought used lenses and tripods. I even bought a used set of black and white dark room equipment and learned how to develop and print my own pictures. I got much better. It was now a matter of choosing what type of “feeling” I wanted to create with the image and deciding which was the best way to accomplish it.

The next year came around, and it was time to visit Europe again. As much as I begged and pleaded, my mentors refused to give in on their ground rule of me using a manual camera for the first year. So off I went to Europe with my K1000 and a bag full of black and white film, as well as a few rolls of color film. This time I did capture the feeling of what I saw. But the story doesn’t end there.

When the whole year had finally passed and I was allowed to get a motorized, auto focus, gee whiz camera I had been researching them for six months. I chose a Pentax PZ1. It was the top of their 35mm line. The body alone was a thousand dollars. I had been saving all year for this, and I was able to get a gray market camera from Europe of the same model for less, so that I could afford two lenses with it. I was beside myself the day it arrived. I grabbed one of my mentors and we headed down to a little bar called Crook’s Den. There weren’t any crooks there, but they always had scantily clad bartenders there that were really cute.

The bartender that was on duty that afternoon was one that I had known for a few months, and was extremely friendly. I was bragging about my camera and taking shots of the locals who would let me. The bartender got off work and stayed around for a few drinks as the evening shift settled in. She decided she would let me shoot some racy pictures of her, to send to her boyfriend in jail to keep him company. When I asked about his opinion of a guy shooting pictures like that, she assured me that she would tell him one of her girlfriends took them.

Well, she wasn’t kidding about racy pictures. She was down to her birthday suit in no time. I decided life was good, and this was the most wonderful way to break in my new camera. We took shots of her on the pool table, in front of the juke box, and in the men’s room pretending to use the urinals. The patrons of the bar couldn’t have been more helpful in moving out of the shots, moving furniture and they truly enjoyed the show. Once we were finished, the drinks came from everywhere for the rest of the evening for both her and me. As the bar closed, we decided to hit an after hours club, and I was still shooting pictures with the best of them.

About four or five in the morning, I asked her if she wanted to go develop the pictures and see how they came out. Being in a small dark room with this beauty wasn’t such a bad ending to an evening that had gone surpisingly well. I developed the film and then showed her each step of the process to make prints from the negatives. She was a sharp girl and caught on quickly. We made print after print. We made big prints. We made small wallet size prints. We made so many prints it became obvious that I wasn’t going to get lucky that morning. I begged off saying I was tired, and she asked if she could make some more prints. I aquiesed and went off to sleep.

When I got up, she was watching television. I saw a very large stack of prints in a manilla envelope beside her. I had a nice evening, so I didn’t bother her about the cost of the materials. I took her home and dropped back by Crook’s Den to see if there was a second encounter like that. The moment I came through the door I was swamped with questions by the patrons as well as the owner of the bar. She ended up getting fired over the photo shoot, but didn’t hold any hard feelings toward me, since it was her choice to do it where she worked.

A few years went by and I never thought much about the shoot. I heard from her a few times. She found some cameras one time and wondered if I wanted to buy them. They weren’t really worth anything, but I gave her twenty bucks just from the guilt of her losing her job. From time to time, someone would show me one of the pictures I had taken and she had printed. She was apparently quite proud of them and distributed them freely.

Almost three years after shooting these pictures, I was leaving Crook’s Den when a car pulled up and a guy jumped out and asked, “Are you Badger?” That was my nickname as well as the name of my business so I said yes. All of a sudden he punches me in the face about three or four times. I was reeling from the impact of the blows, when he demands the money I made from selling pictures of his girlfriend. I look into the car to see the bartender from years ago and was aghast.

I told him truthfully that I had never sold a single shot of her. I would have needed a model release form to do so. He demanded the negatives and said that if he ever did catch me selling any pictures of her, it was going to be worse than this time.

I had been drinking long enough that I didn’t want to deal with the cops that evening and have to leave my car there. So I went home and tried to file charges the next day. I didn’t know his name, and since it happened the night before and I didn’t call then, the police took a statement, but that was all. It was pretty clear to me that she decided it was better to tell her boyfriend that I had been selling the nude pictures of her, rather than admit to her printing and distributing them.

That was the only time in my adult life that someone had beat me up. With all good intentions, you never know how some events in your life will turn out and the strange path of consequences.

New Pill

newpill1280Ted donned a clean lab coat and put on a fresh pair of surgical gloves. It wasn’t often the old man even came to the offices of his pharmaceutical company, much less the research department. The President of the board of directors preferred to be called by his first name, and never asked if you felt the same. Franklin refused to admit that his obsession with germs was bordering on level of Howard Hughes. Franklin never wore surgical gloves himself, but he wouldn’t shake hands with those who didn’t. After working for the company for fifteen years, Ted was going to take the opportunity to shake his boss’ hand.

Ted knew why Franklin was on his way to his sparsely outfitted lab. He had discovered a chemical formula that targeted the pain receptors in the neurological systems of humans. Simply said, it stopped nerve pain. It was not a narcotic and had few side effects. It would ease the suffering of millions. Although Ted was flattered to be visited by the head of such a large pharmaceutical company the greatest satisfaction came from the knowledge that his discovery would help his diabetic brother. Diabetics often develop numbness in their limbs called peripheral neuropathy. About one in ten of those diabetics get a form of neuropathy that instead of numbness is constant pain. Think of a time you had a single exposed nerve in your mouth and needed a root canal. Multiply that pain by ten, make the source millions of nerves and make it constant. That is what the painful form of Diabetic Neuropathy is like.

It would also provide relief for the millions with back problems such as a herniated disk that puts pressure on the sciatic nerve. Another group affected by nerve pain is the ever growing number of HIV victims, and an even larger number of people with cancer. One of the most severely affected patients, are those with RSD. The acronym stands for Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, which is sometimes called CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome). The pain is so intense, they compare it to giving birth every ten minutes.

Ted’s thoughtful reverie was broken by the arrival of Franklin. The old man seemed affected my neuralgia himself as he excused himself to sit down. He admitted as much during their conversation. Franklin congratulated Ted on his accomplishments. He was proud to give Ted a bonus check of two million dollars, a promotion and a raise that almost doubled his current pay. He also told Ted he could start his two year paid vacation today if he wished. Ted thanked him for his generosity, but said he was confused by the two year paid vacation. There was so much work to be done to get the new pill approved and to market. How could they send him on vacation with that to be done? There had been nine months of test already, and it wasn’t until the approval process was far enough along to verify the discovery was actually as effective as it claimed to be. The FDA process for approval was now much shorter than the 22 month window it was in 1992.

Franklin held his hand up to stop the flood of questions pouring out of Ted. He said quietly “That is not how it works around here.” He went on to explain that they had just released a drug two years ago that works just on nerve pain. It admittedly did not work even a tenth as well as Ted’s new invention, but the pharmaceutical company still had eighteen years left on the patent, before competing companies could release a generic version of the drug. Ted was aghast at the idea it might take almost twenty years before the millions upon millions of people would receive the benefit of his new pill. Another thought was that his brother wouldn’t live that long in the pain he currently was in. Ted told Franklin that his brother’s pain was one of the driving forces for him to discover some relief. Franklin assured him that his brother would be in on all the new trials and testing, so he would have a steady supply.

Franklin went on to say the pharmaceutical company was in business to make money, not to heal the sick. They would probably spend 250 million dollars, which is a quarter of a billion dollars advertising this new drug, instead of the usual 160 million dollars. That would drive the selling price so high that it would be too expensive for the millions suffering from HIV in Africa, or the millions with cancer and diabetes around the world. Only after they had run the twenty year patent of the new drug and made the most money they could, would there be any possibility of lowering the price to make the drug affordable to the masses.

Franklin told Ted that the only way he could see the new pill going to market sooner, is if one of the company’s competitors looked close to developing a similar solution. He reminded Ted, that with the non-disclosure agreement he signed when starting with the company, if he went to a competitor to share his discovery, the following would happen. He would lose the bonus check, he would lose his position with the company, his retirement, and he would spend the rest of his life in prison.

Dropping Pencils

droppingpencils1280It happens to almost every boy and girl somewhere between junior high and the early years of high school. You have a teacher that is quite young, and almost always “cool.” This is usually their first teaching job out of college. They are finding their way around teaching as much as you were finding your way around the raging sea of hormones that accompanies puberty. These young teachers are adults, but they aren’t THAT much older than you. Depending on which grade you are in, the difference might be only seven or eight years. You girls can think of several couples where the age difference is that much or more.

For the boys, it is the visualization of them with a woman with fully developed sexual organs. Although it has been established that the often quoted fact of men thinking about sex every seven seconds has been proved to be urban legend, I think the number of times adolescent males think of it is much higher than older males. For the girls this time is often the first chance they have to try out their flirting skills. Most would only do that with a single young teacher, because the family embedded taboo of being a home wrecker is too evil to cross. Most guys aren’t that concerned whether the female teacher is married or not.

This story isn’t about my particular young teacher I had a crush on. There were probably several, but I don’t’ even remember their names or faces anymore. The story is about a woman that I was engaged to. She was a teacher in junior high and had gotten her degree in sociology. She came home in a rather fetching if not rather short dress and I made a comment about the boys must have been dropping pencils a lot today.

The look on her face was total confusion. She had no idea of what I was talking about. My reaction was total disbelief. She admitted an unusual number of boys had dropped their pencils, papers, or books today, but she didn’t think anything about it. When I finally stopped laughing, what was obviously much too long a time later, I was confronted with a fiancée demanding answers. I explained the male art of dropping things from their desk, so they could look up girls dresses. There was the drop and tuck, for the girls sitting behind you and the drop and roll for those seated in front of you. This was especially good if the girl was sitting opposite of you.

She still wasn’t sure if I was kidding or not, because I have been known to be more than a little bit of a practical joker. So we were off to the computer to Google the subject. Needless to say there were numerous examples of guys blogging about it, and teacher’s references to it. I assume that 99.9 percent of guys know about it, and the majority of those have done it as well. Her naiveté was written off to being educated in an all girls Catholic school. How she missed it in sociology studies escapes me. But the kicker was that when we Googled “dropping pencils”, there were as many references to girls dropping pencils to see if the teacher picked them up or dropping pencils to provide their teacher a view down their shirts, as there were of boys dropping pencils.

Alien Exam

alienexam1280The idea that we humans on the planet Earth are the only sentient beings in the universe is at least pompous if not absurd. Carl Sagan and Frank Drake’s estimates of ten million civilizations as advanced as ours or more, might be a bit too optimistic as well. The reality probably lies somewhere in between.

While I don’t have a problem believing there are other intelligent life forms in the universe, of which some may be more advanced than us, I do have a problem with the whole concept of alien abduction. At least on as large a scale as it is purported by some authors such as Harvard Professor John E. Mack or Whitley Strieber the author of Communion. Numbers like 1 in 50 people have been abducted, are put forward in their “nonfiction” books on the subject.

The first time this phenomenon really touched my life was in November of 1975. I was living in Memphis and reading a newspaper about a man being abducted by aliens. His name was Travis Walton. I nearly dropped the paper from shock, but re-read the article’s first paragraph again. Yes, it did say Travis Walton was supposedly abducted by aliens. The thing was, that Travis Walton was my roommate. I hadn’t seen him for several days, but that wasn’t too unusual with our woman chasing habits of that age.

It turns out that it was not “my” Travis Walton that had been abducted. When he returned from a trip to south Mississippi to visit his parents, he certainly played up the story. We were both fans of science fiction and I still am even though I’m in my fifties. I don’t know exactly where my beliefs are about life on other planets, but I tend to think it is possible. I guess if I was pressed to commit to where I thought an alien space craft had ever visited Earth, I would probably have to say yes to that too. Were they abducting humans for experiments aboard their ships, I would have to say I doubt it. If you asked me if I thought all UFO’s were from other planets, I would say no. Asking the same question about some of them being from other planets, I would say probably.

I believe that at least once in my life, I really did see UFO’s. I worked the eleven p.m. to seven a.m. shift at a beach side hotel in Daytona Beach, Florida as a night auditor. That time of night was usually pretty quiet, and my fiancée, Robin a desk clerk during the day was there with me. I noticed a group of people starting to grow around the pool looking out towards the ocean. I asked Robin to watch the front desk, while I saw what was going on. As I entered the pool area, several of the people looked up at me and nodded but did not say anything. They started looking back towards the ocean. The feeling was rather surreal in and of itself. I followed their eyes toward the ocean to see five and sometimes six bright objects moving in formation out over the ocean. This display went on for something like ten or fifteen minutes. Sometime one or two of the lights would “break off” of the main group and streak off at speeds that seemed incomprehensible. I looked back at the hotel balconies and saw more and more people coming to look toward the ocean. I can’t tell you how strange it was that everyone was so quiet. It was obvious that most people there thought we were seeing something that was quite out of the ordinary. Plainly speaking everyone thought it was UFO’s but nobody wanted to say anything to that effect. By the end of the show there must have been at least a hundred people combined in our hotel alone on the balconies and around the pool. I could see even more people gathered around the pools of adjoining hotels. For the most part the group wordlessly broke apart to go to their rooms or walks on the beach. A couple of out loud questions about what we had seen were met with only shrugs of the shoulder.

When the show was over, I went back in and tried to call the police. For the first time in my life here in Daytona, there was a busy signal. The second call got through and since it appeared over the ocean I was directed to call the Coast Guard. When I finally got through to them, I was told that there was a shrimp boat burning off the Atlantic Ocean shore, and it was the cause of the lights. The guy laughed and said they had received lots of calls that evening.

Right.

The next day there was no mention of the incident or burning shrimp boats in the Newspaper.

Warrior Faerie

warriorfaerie1280She hovered inches above the ground, screeching a noise that drove most beings mad. Behind her gathered others of her species, read to assist if their adversary advanced. The weight of her body compared to the size of her wings, meant that she couldn’t fly too much higher than she was now. The genetic intent was to tower above her adversary, and it was enough to accomplish that.

As with many creatures that go back a long way in time, there is specialization. Members of a species that carry out special missions. There are caste systems among bees, where some are workers, other are drones, and they even have a queen. Ants take it even further by adding a fourth caste, which is the soldier. This large almost human looking creature was the fourth caste of the Faerie people.

How could the tiny Faeries create such a huge member of their species in comparison to the size of the rest, you may ask. How does nature accomplish size variations in any species? is the question to answer your question. Size variation by sex is common in many species, with the female being larger in some, the male in others. Birds seem to take that a step further by adding in the environment. Birds of the same species tend to be smaller where there is more competition for food. The Warrior Faerie is the size she is, because she had to be. The predator for the their species was the human, and they had to fight fire with fire.

The smaller Faeries were known to fly alongside or even ride arrows and spears to adjust their in flight trajectory towards their target. The little ones were know to fly close to the eyes of combatants, to give the Warrior Faerie an opening by distracting the adversary. Sometimes the small Faeries would tie something across the path of the enemy, so they would trip over it. But the killing blow had to come from a creature of similar size and strength.

The resources of a Faerie community to feed and arm a Warrior Faerie were so overwhelming that they were only bred in the most serious of circumstances. The sacrifices it took to create the chain of events to breed a warrior are greater than we could ever know. The time it took was even greater. The lack of resources has laid low many an army and species. Although the Warrior Faerie was a formidable foe, there were just too few to make a difference.

That is why the Faerie people exist no more.

Same Dream

samedream1280She had basically the same dream every night, with small variations. She was running through the streets of town naked. It seemed like she was running in slow motion. At first she couldn’t see what was chasing her, but she kept looking back to see if it whatever it was is gaining on her. Eventually she would see the monster chasing her, and it would always be gaining on her. She would panic and feel her heart beating as if it was about to jump out of her chest. She would always start looking around for door to escape through, but they were always locked. She ended up each night getting into some sort of box, to escape. Sometimes it was a dumpster. Other times it was a cardboard box already occupied by a homeless man. One night it was even a coffin. As the monster would catch up to her and grab the box she was in, it would be that moment she awoke. She would come awake with a violent lurch forward and bathed in sweat. Sometimes she would have to check every door and closet in her small apartment, before she could go back to sleep.

She read about the meaning of dreams. Depending on what source you were reading the meanings varied widely. The psychological meaning of being naked in public is that your feel vulnerable and exposed. Old wives tales said that dreams of being nude in public fortold of a terrible scandal soon to pass. Some Christians felt it refered to the final judgement before God. The running portion of the dream dealt with feelings of insecurity according to psychology. For children it might be that they are being bullied at school. For men it might be a fear of castration, which usually meant they were dealing with a strong willed woman. For women it was running from sexual attackers that secretly symbolised their desire to be wooed. Native Americans believed that if you were being chased in a dream, you should turn and wrestle whatever was chasing you to the ground, and by that overcome your fears. The part of the dream about escaping into boxes only to be caught was too esoteric for much of any of the reading she had done. Each source would have totally different meanings for dumpsters, cardboard boxes, and coffins. Since it happened in each dream, she felt it must have a more consistent meaning, that she was missing.

Tonight she fell asleep and soon was running down the streets naked again. This time she felt the stones in the street as she stepped on them. She was aware of the sweat streaming down her body as she was running, not when she woke up. This time she didn’t try the doors because she knew that they would be locked. She didn’t look back this time, because she knew the monster would be gaining on her. Ahead she saw the light of a telephone booth, with the door open. She couldn’t remember ever trying to escape into a phone booth, so ran into it, and slammed the door shut. As the monster started to shake the phone booth, she didn’t wake up this time. She only heard, “For God’s sake Frank, take that box with the thing in it and get rid of it. Whatever it is stinks to high heaven. How is something like that let loose to run around and smell up the place in a civilized society like ours?”

Lady Godiva

ladygodiva1280I’ve always been somewhat of an exhibitionist, and for as long as I can remember, I wanted to re-enact the ride of Lady Godiva. For those of you who don’t know, another term for the exhibitionism is the Lady Godiva Syndrome. I don’t know when or how it started, but I’ve been told of my behavior as a two year old. After taking a bath, and being wrapped in a towel, I would greet visiting guest in the living room, drop my towel and go running out of the room, squealing with glee. I do vaguely remember re-enacting the scene when I was five or six and being told that was inappropriate for a girl my age.

I don’t think that most of my exhibitionism revolves around nudity, but it certainly involves a strong desire for attention. I like being the center of attention. I will do or say outrageous things just to be there. It has gotten me in a fair amount of trouble, but that is really just another sort of attention. It isn’t that I have to do it to get ahead, I just like it. I’m practically a straight A student, with only an occasional B. I’ve managed this without being “geeky” in any way. I’m now fifteen and if you must know, I could still wear white at my wedding.

I’m guessing that growing up around the horses on my father’s farm had something to do with my secret desire to reenact the ride of Godiva. It certainly made pulling it off much easier than having to steal a horse. The town where I lived was large enough that it didn’t make sense to try and ride naked through the entire municipality. Seeing movies where the horse ran through the shallows of the water made a visual impression on me. I knew that actually running a horse through shallow water on shifting sand, was an invitation to laming it. I truly love animals and especially horses, so I wouldn’t dream of doing something that might hurt them. As a compromise, I decided that riding a horse naked with the beach as a backdrop would have to suffice for my secret ride.

Since I didn’t expect to repeat the ride any time soon, I decided that I must have the experience documented. It wasn’t that I wanted to post it on the Internet or anything, but I did want proof that I had done it. I decided that my compatriot in crime would be the school photographer. I wanted someone competent enough that we wouldn’t have any “retakes”, but malleable enough that I could control him completely. The photographer’s name was Tom, which seemed like kismet. Another point of trivia is that the term “peeping tom” when it refers to a voyeur harkens back to the legend of Lady Godiva. Supposedly, there was a tailor by the name of Tom, who bore a hole in his shutters, so he could see her as she rode by. In the legend he was stuck blind.

Tom was enough of a geek, that he stumbled over his words around pretty girls. He was almost speechless around me. I was sure that given the opportunity to not only see, but videograph me nude would allow me to set whatever conditions I chose. I was right, and he agreed that I would leave the beach with the only copy of the video. He also pointed out the fact we needed enough light for him to get good images. So we set the date for the dastardly deed on the next full moon.

The night arrived and horse in hand we met at the agreed upon location. I had the wig with hair long enough to cover what little assets my fifteen year old body had, with lots of hair left over. I’m sure that Tom was hoping for more of a production or viewing at least, but I put on the hair before slipping out of my clothes. He might have gotten a flash of my butt visually, but the filming wasn’t set to start until I was fully on the horses back.

As I slid on to his bare back and wrapped my legs around his side, he reared up on his hind legs. I grabbed on to his mane and held on for dear life. I was hoping two things in the seconds that the horse reared up. One was that I didn’t fall off, and the other was that Tom was filming this. As the horse landed, I acted nonplussed as if I had planned it all along and started the horse on a slow trot. Tom was in his car along side of us, and filming as he drove.

It was late evening, and what few couples were on the beach, only seemed amused by nocturnal ride. I had planned on riding for ten or fifteen minutes, but was shocked to see a car turn on to the beach. It was far too late for the beach patrol, so it could only be the city police. In making my plans for the ride, I knew that the horse could go places no police car could follow. I immediately turned toward the dunes and rode over them to the street along the beach. I had not planned on riding through the city proper in nothing but a wig, which was now blowing back behind me because of the speed. Other than a car almost crashing at the sight of my reenactment, I managed to get back to the farm without incident. I was still nude, but was lucky enough to find a scratchy old pair of overalls in the barn. I shinnied up the tree as I had many times before, and got into my bedroom without incident.

The next day at school, Tom gave me the tape from the video camera. He told me that he had gotten a ticket for driving on the beach after hours, but said the cost of the ticket was worth the experience. He swore that he didn’t make a copy of the tape for himself, but I have my doubts.

Cigar Indian

cigarindian1280He was dying the stone death. It had happened only to members of the Choctaw tribe for as long as anyone can remember. There are songs of it happening even as far back as the great crossing, where the land bridge rose between what is now Russia and Alaska. It was said that only the bravest of their people were chosen by the Great Spirit to become statues. This dying indian had lived long enough to know better. He had seen young braves go into battle as he had when he was young and never become stone people. He had seen old men and more squaws than braves become statues. Not all of the Choctaw people became stone people in death. Just a few did. He knew it to be a disease like the coughing death or fever. Just another way to die.

He stood with his offering in his open hand and looked into the distance. He hoped it was an eagle that would come to take his spirit to the other side. He had fought bravely. He had not taken from others of his tribe. He had fathered many young and provided well for all of them. He felt it would be only right that the Great Spirit would send an eagle to honor him on his journey.

When Artemis and Bill stumbled into the misty hollow and caught site of the tall dark indian, they nearly lost control of their bodily functions. They couldn’t tell if he was alive or not. The indians eyes were open, and though the color was wrong, the old indian still seemed a formidable foe. The eagle had been long gone when the white men arrived. Whether the old indian had been standing there for a day, a week, a fortnight or a whole moon, they could not tell. They had no idea of why the indian was looking off into the distance with his hand open and the palm up.

Artemis had been in the woods to trade tobacco with the indians. He would return to open his tobacco shop in town. He decide right then and there, this old indian would be just the thing to draw people to his shop. In fact he thought to himself, he’d stick a bundle of cigars in the old fellows open hand. Through much effort on his and Bill’s part they managed to get the indian back to Artemis’ store. He did draw many a curious onlooker to come and see him. Since the color was wrong, and would continue to change, they painted him with normal house paint. Neither of them was too skilled an artist, so the result was a bit crude. This had worked so well for Artemis, that he was soon buried in orders for a similar indian for other tobacco stores. He made some of wood, and various other materials, but none looked quite as real as the original.

Epilogue:
When I was young, I saw a wooden indian. It struck me as strange that he had the cigars in an open hand, rather than holding them like you would a glass. As a youngster the discrepancy grew into a variety of theories. Now tobacco store indians are politically incorrect in the same way as black driveway jockeys are. They are demeaning to that race of people.

The irony did not stop there. In the midst of my medical problems, I was tested for lupus and did not have it, but I tested positive for connective tissue disorder. This is where the body’s defenses start attacking the body itself. The particular pattern created by the test results, indicated a tendency towards diffuse cutaneous scleroderma. All of the medical jargon is just a medical way to say that your skin and then your internal organs calcify. To make an even greater generalization is to expand calcify into turning to stone. The disease is almost exclusive to the Choctaw indian tribe and the people of Thailand.

My grandfather was full blooded Choctaw indian. The disease is dormant in me now. I see the doctor every month to see if has becomes active. I’ve heard it is a terrible and slow death if it starts in the esophagus or stomach. If it hits the lungs, kidneys or heart, you go pretty quickly. I pray that I don’t die this way.

Excuse me while I light another cigarette. You know that tobacco has always been of great importance to my people.