Three Ghostes

3 Ghostes

Went for a walk this evening. Put Jack on my shoulders. It was nice. Sorta cool out. Cool for Miami, you know? Mosquitoes were sorta out sorta not. Sliver of a banana moon out. We out. We about. We no fighting tonight. We no shout.

I like the look of my shadow with my little man riding up high. He grabs on like a monkey, hugging against my head, running his fingers along the slow returning hair on my ears. Gotta shave that tomorrow morning. But he likes it right now.

His mother walks slow, looking at Halloween decorations in people’s yards. I need to go faster. Overweight as I am, I want to go on to the next house, the next corner, the next block. I walk ahead of her into the street to avoid some sprinklers. She falls behind a bit in the dark street. She’s on the other side of the street now for some reason, popping in and out of tree shadows.

I don’t know shit about Halloween, thanks Jehovah’s Witnesses. I only know that summer is dying and running is funner. I want to take off with my boy up there in the saddle of my shoulders. I want to be a stallion for him. I want him to bounce and hold on for his life and giggle, the pealing laughs bouncing off walls and trees, up into a sky with no rain finally summer’s going away.

I think about how fast 3 years old is going and how he lies sometimes now and can say please and thank you and you’re welcome. He bargains. He likes it when I drive over train tracks fast. He tells me he loves me too when I put him to sleep. He cries a little more than I like.

I think about my sore lower back and put the Kentucky Derby on slow mo. The other footsteps catch up behind me.

We reach our front yard and look at the inflated pacman pumpkin chasing 3 blinking ghosts: blue, green, red.

“It’s three ghostes, dada.”

First Day of School

first day of school

Today was your first day of school.

You knew off the bat we were not going to the babysitter. On the road, when we turned right instead of continuing South, you said, “This way! This way!”

We’d been telling you for a week that you were going to school. That you’d be playing with kids. That you’d be learning.

As with most things, you ignored us because you had better things to do. Lightning McQueen and Towmater and Mack truck and such. So important because now your life of nine to five has begun and this is the cage, welcome and sorry.

When we pulled up and put you on the sidewalk so you could walk on your own, you rooted your feet to the dirty concrete. I gotta be honest. I couldn’t look you in the eye.

Your mom and I each grabbed one of your hands and hopped you along the sidewalk, yanking you into the air and dropping you slowly back to the ground. I could tell you were not buying the hoppitty bullshit. You were tense, my boy. Like you were taking one of your bad shits. A seizure of suspicion. The blue wooden fence was  an unfamiliar sight early in the morning. The old lady who greeted us was not the dark smiling woman who smells of curry and lets dogs lick you every day.

You did not want to cross the concrete courtyard to where the kids were having breakfast. I picked you up and carried you. I saw a rocking chair and put you in it.

Because rocking chairs comfort me.

You sat there and looked around from beneath your furrowed brow and slightly lowered head.  You seemed to be checking the place out.

I told your mom we were leaving and she asked if we should say bye to you. I told her no.

I checked with one of the women who worked there, this was the right thing to do, right? Not make life difficult for everyone else by allowing our son to see our sadness and to share in it, to bring us to the point of saying fuck this, it’s pretty expensive anyway, we can wait another year or two or three or fuck preschool altogether, if we could figure out a way to win the Powerball, we would never have to educate you, you could avoid difficulty forever, you could grow up to be a super wealthy mongoloid asshole. But always happy.

She told me that yes, it was best if we just departed. So we did.

In the car, as we drove back home, I could see your mother’s head get lower and lower. Not bowed down, but a complete vertical drop, like ET is wont to do. An alien driving me around. Her shoulders twitched a little as we went and when we parked, she cried and her face was a green eyed question mark with ruddy cheeks. “We abandoned him.”

I said all the right things to comfort her.

I remember my first day of school: Kindergarten. 1982, I’m guessing. I never had any daycare or preschool or anything. Just always with my cousins. Four boys breaking things. Getting our ass beat a lot, though my aunts and uncles deny this shit the way escaped Nazis deny participating in war crimes. I remember being aware that this school thing was going to happen. And that WORK was being missed for this. For me.

I remember my father standing outside the low two door kindergarten building with his hands in his pocket. My god, he would’ve been 42.

I wrapped myself around his legs and apologized. I apologized for the universe, the big bang, for not reading the bible more, for talking back all the time, and for every horrible thing I would do after that day, just please don’t make me go to school. I did not look up at him. I buried my head in the stiff green of his pants legs and I could smell the dust of the polished metal that he fought every day and still does. My teacher pulled me away from him and into the classroom and he just stood there, his legs and the light of the sun and then the closing door.

Thirty years later, I saw my father’s face in my reflection in the bathroom mirror at work.

Jack’s First Wasp Sting

The wasps around here are territorial but they’ve never stung anyone. We have a silent agreement where I destroy their nests but generally leave the wasps themselves alone as long as they don’t come at me. I often walk right into a small group of them and they don’t do anything. I believe in not projecting fear when dealing with animals. Especially insects.

So, I didn’t think anything was wrong when Jack seemed a little scared of the wasp that was buzzing around him in his Little Tikes Cozy Coupe. Until he started to cry and said, “I sorry, I sorry.”

I pulled him out and eventually found a small sting on his toe. His little foot had swollen a tiny bit on top and on the toe.

From my chair, where I was sitting with Jack on my lap, I kicked the Cozy Coupe into the middle of the yard. Once Christie (who was visiting) and Christina took Jack inside to soothe him, I went and picked up the Cozy Coupe to see if there was a nest in it somewhere.

Once summer starts (in May for Miami, pretty much), I tend to step up my wasp nest prevention patrols. I look under the railings on the deck and porch. I check in and around all the hurricane shutter frames. I even look under the damn Cozy Coupe. But, I never thought we had wasps who were trained as smugglers, because this time I found a nest underneath the dashboard of the Cozy Coupe. I didn’t even know there was an “underneath” FOR the dashboard! But there it was, a half formed comb of sorts. I pulled it out, stomped on it and flung it into the air, where it blew back at me.

I went inside and got the wasp spray. I drowned the crushed nest and kicked it under the deck. Then, I waited for the wasp to come back, and when it did, I bathed it in a nice firm chemical stream.

The thing that pissed me off the most wasn’t even that Jack got stung. I mean, shit’s going to happen. It was those sad, teary, “I sorry”s. It was like he thought he did something wrong and we were punishing him. And that’s so unfair.

For the wasps, too.20120610-232546.jpg

Sentence Assignment

This is the last sentence of the Sentence Assignment set of writings. I know this because my friend has informed me that his schooling will be done next week. So this is the last bit of this sort of gibberish you’ll be running into for a good while. Yes, smile, Invisible Reader. We are at the close, as they say. And by they, I mean nobody. Or them.

So here it is. Four minutes to write about: “Be true to your teeth or they’ll be false to you.”

Braces. I remember the fucking braces. My mother wanted me to have them. Made some kind of deal with my dad to split the cost. I’m sure he had his doubts about what she would actually do with the money. I know I learned that lesson.

I guess I should be thankful for the braces. I’ve kissed a lot of girls with these awesome teeth. I have to admit, that aside from a lil curve at the end of it, I don’t get a million compliments on my penis. But my teeth? All the time. Chicks with, “You shouldn’t hide your smile.” They have no idea that I used to be Dracula at Halloween with no need to purchase fangs. At one point in middle school, I had my two milk teeth above my regular canines.

I remember when the dentist took out a bunch of perfectly good teeth. The Life Saver taste of the sprayed on anesthetic. The giant needle with the two hoops at the end of it for deft fingers. I remember the crick-crick-crick-crick while the dentist pried out teeth, back and forth, back and forth, with PLIERS, because my mouth was apparently too small for all my teeth. ME! A small mouth! Somewhere at my old place, there is a small plastic cylinder with the teeth in it. If you open it, you will probably smell something similar to an Egyptian mummy’s cheese collection.

I also had oral surgery for removal of my wisdom teeth. Cavemen teeth with no real use in the present. And I had FIVE of them (four is normal!). I’m a lil extra caveman classic when I roll with my sarcastic.

I remember the pain from the braces. I could feel my gums sweating saliva. I could feel my heart beating in that pink rumply tissue that held my chompers in place.

At one point, I swore to my mother and father that I’d put them in a home one day for the pain they had brought upon me.

My mom and I would go to Checker’s after my dental appointments, usually. I couldn’t eat anything but fries and a shake. And none of it ever hid the taste of newly tightened metal. The ghost of aluminum. I remember thinking what a terrible price I had to pay to get out of school early.

I hid the braces well all through middle school. Only a couple of people knew I had them. I think it was half learning to look hard and half knowing to hide things from the vultures known as children.

You dumb bastards didn’t know a thing about raising a boy. But thanks for the awesome teeth. Couldn’t have gotten laid without them.

Sentence Assignments

Late on my sentences as usual. You know the drill. One sentence. Four minutes. Always late. But often finished… This post’s sentence is: “I was trying so hard to be myself I was turning into somebody else.”

This will be the first straight up literal translation of this I’ll do. This sentence makes me think about me. About selfishness. About how when I want something, whether it’s shiny or I ascribe god knows whatever else to justify my desiring it, I become blind to logic and practicality and to other people’s needs and hearts and their right to breathe without having to endure my presence or blind path walking.

I mean, being selfish is an idealistic thing, you know? And I guess what I mean by that is that when I was young, I didn’t care about what people thought (and I still don’t, to a particular degree). Truth at all costs, and all that shit. Freedom of speech and fuck you.

And now that I have a kid, I’m better about that stuff. I understand people who don’t want others to cuss around their kids. Or to smoke. Or to have too much violence on tv.

I now understand about “almost” with kids. As in, that person almost let my kid bust his ass.

I get these big sucking ins of my breath sometimes when these almosts occur.

Last night, Jack was crying for someone to come get him. I went over there, with good intentions: to make him learn he has no power. So that we can sleep. Not because I’m an asshole. And he let out this great big crying Pleeeeeeaaaaase! And I couldn’t swat it aside with my logic and book readings. I picked him up and told him to stop crying. That it would be okay.

And he said, “Okaaaaaay,” and he put his little head on my shoulder.

Sometimes, I try so hard to be hard, that I forget I’ve become a dad.

Sentence Assignments

Late on my sentences as usual. You know the drill. One sentence. Four minutes. Always late. But often finished… This post’s sentence is: “I was trying so hard to be myself I was turning into somebody else.”

This will be the first straight up literal translation of this I’ll do. This sentence makes me think about me. About selfishness. About how when I want something, whether it’s shiny or I ascribe god knows whatever else to justify my desiring it, I become blind to logic and practicality and to other people’s needs and hearts and their right to breathe without having to endure my presence or blind path walking.

I mean, being selfish is an idealistic thing, you know? And I guess what I mean by that is that when I was young, I didn’t care about what people thought (and I still don’t, to a particular degree). Truth at all costs, and all that shit. Freedom of speech and fuck you.

And now that I have a kid, I’m better about that stuff. I understand people who don’t want others to cuss around their kids. Or to smoke. Or to have too much violence on tv.

I now understand about “almost” with kids. As in, that person almost let my kid bust his ass.

I get these big sucking ins of my breath sometimes when these almosts occur.

Last night, Jack was crying for someone to come get him. I went over there, with good intentions: to make him learn he has no power. So that we can sleep. Not because I’m an asshole. And he let out this great big crying Pleeeeeeaaaaase! And I couldn’t swat it aside with my logic and book readings. I picked him up and told him to stop crying. That it would be okay.

And he said, “Okaaaaaay,” and he put his little head on my shoulder.

Sometimes, I try so hard to be hard, that I forget I’ve become a dad.

Sentence Assignment

I may have gone over four minutes on that last one. I had to quiet my phone timer because it woke the woman from some strange sleep. I think she mumbled, “I’ll cut it off and people will thank me.” So I’m scared now. And thankful that there’s only one sentence to go. I have to write about it for four minutes. And it’s the shittiest sentence I’ve had.

Group relaxation will be cancelled for the duration of the academic year

If they said this to me at work, it would mean that we’re all getting fired. I work at a school, so I would assume this means no one is getting to relax because we’re all going to be looking for jobs and canceling our cable, lawn fertilizer guy, cell phones, motorcycle insurance, trips to Toys R Us to glance lovingly at light sabers, and some other stuff. I have a spreadsheet I need to check. But I can’t do that right now because I have two minutes left on this word roller coaster of DOOOM.

But for my friend Chris who gives me these sentences, well… that guy never relaxes. Chris, this one is for you. Relax. Fuck the cancelation of group relaxation. You relax better alone anyway. One cannot cancel relaxation anymore than one can cancel erections. Sure, time may take erections FROM us, but it will never cancel them.

It will steal them. But relaxation? A motherfucker in a hole can find a way to relax somehow. Mentally. Maybe he would curl into a strange sort of apostrophobic position. Looking like a lima bean.

I got ten seconds, man, but I did it. I finished these fucking sentences.

Sentence Assignment

I really screwed the pooch on these sentences. Man, I hate when old Cuban guys tell me about how awesome it was to bang sheep when they were young, and here I am talking about fucking dogs. But, I really thought I would make the midnight express. But here I am on my third sentence with two minutes left… Oh, well… there will be words, regardless. Or irregardless, if you like to make up words. I have to write about the following sentence for four minutes and I feel that I am running out of interesting and original things to say.

There’s a little bit of truth in every lie.

I gotta agree with that one. I’m a good liar. An excellent liar, I’d say. And I always try to keep my lies simple and partially true. If you do something you’re not supposed to be doing and you have a good time, keep the fun in the lie. Maybe you went and bought a dirty magazine instead of going to study at the library?

Did you have a good time at the library?

Hell yes, I did. Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, oh hell yes, they were solving crimes and getting chloroformed out of their minds and everyone was hooting and hollering and reading from the same book! Fucking awesome!

Speaking of dirty magazines (segue win!), I remember a time before the fish market that sprung across the street from my house, the way shitty relatives spring from dark and cobwebbed corners for people who have won the lottery… oh my god, fuck you, sentence from hell. I remember a time, here we go, when there was a Farm Stores across the street from me.

Shit.

It turned into something else, but I don’t remember what, but FOR A TIME, the Indian dude that ran it had dirty magazines on a little rack next to the fridge that had all the milk in it. I know, how apropos. I would cross the street and buy Snickers bars just to get a peek at the titties through the cellophane wrappers. And now we have the internet, you know?

We have a lil convenience store around here and there’s an Indian dude with his own rack and dirty magazines, and I’m like, seriously? For what? Does this guy have any idea what I just downloaded AND streamed like an hour ago?

I mean, I had four media player windows open to take care of this problem.

20120322-000658.jpg

Sentence Assignment

A sentence a week. Now I’m only 3 weeks behind. And it doesn’t look like I’ll beat the midnight click of the clock. But that’s ok. Sometimes, it’s ok to write past midnight. I BELIEVE that thoughts can get away at night. I believe in the magic of the dark. Here’s the next sentence. And I have to write about it for four minutes.

“Who has more fun than people?”

Not horses. I mean, HBO’s Luck got canceled because some horses died, because apparently they are very sensitive. I JUST recently was explained what that whole leading a horse to water business MEANS. So, not any animals. Maybe dinosaurs did, though. But I doubt it. We’re all animals anyway, right? Besides, the question is asking WHO. Not what. But ain’t no who that ain’t people, right? I mean, is Nintendo a Who?

Perhaps we should ask Horton. He may have heard.

It is obvious now that I blew my entire awesomeness wad on my first sentence response. This is pure shit. Maybe toilets have more fun than people. I mean, if people could open the top of me and pull on a thing and I had a monsoon going on in my mind, that’d be kind of neat. But the shitting and the pissing and the vomiting, maybe not so much fun.

You know the planet’s not having fun. Or cars. I thought, maybe hang gliders, but nah. I mean, people wreck those things all the time. And there’s no hang glider hospital, you know?

I once had a friend say about his kids, “…they’re not people! Look at them! They’re animals!” but I think they’re just little people.

I been racking my mind about this shit for no good reason. Who has more fun than people?

Nobody, dude.

20120321-235558.jpg

Sentence Assignment

I have to write about the following sentence for four minutes. I get one of these a week. I am four weeks behind at this point. This should take me twenty minutes to do. I should be able to beat Midnight if I am swift enough.

“There wasn’t one to give.”

A fuck. A duck. A dollar. An excuse. A good reason, even. A moment. A picture. One last song. A story. Tell me about a good day recently. Something that made you smile. Maybe you saw something funny in traffic. There’s always interesting people driving cars and doing other shit at the same time. The assholes that have the bluetooth headsets that seem like they’re talking to themselves. The women putting on makeup in the fucking merge lane. I love the people who sing and drum on their steering wheels. What about the people singing sad songs? I like them, too. Heads slightly tilted forward, mouth not quite opening all the way. Some of them seem to be humming.

I used to listen to more music on the way to work. In Oregon, I drove over a valley and some mornings, there was fog down there, made by the river, which was warmer than the cool spring air. There used to be trees. There used to be bus rides. There used to be a whole country to give my speed to.

Now I feel I don’t have a minute to give, to lose, to make things, to sing a song in the car.

I did but I am sure I think I had a good reason for doing so