Monday, July 26, 2010

Duke Fabulous Reporting

WELL this is certainly one for all the ages and a few in between. It was last Saturday or maybe one a them other days, and I found myself ex-akkitakillay where I was, in a rental boat on the edge of the lake with not much more than a net an' a bucket. Lately my fryin' pan got to hankerin' real bad for some frog legs an' so there's only one thing left to-do. I say. So here I am a tryin' my best to troll along tha shore line and catch a few so long as they don't hop quicker than a body can swing a net. Well at first the pickin's are right slim but finally there's this great big daddy rascal facin' tha other way, and just as I'm right on 'im there's a knock-knock on the side of the boat. Now, seems to me a feller might expect a knock-knock at a door ever' here an' again but when he's crouched precarious on a craft it can bear, as we say, un-expected results. This bein' the case, imagine my very own surprise to see that bullfrog hop right along cassidy and all the while beneath the Duke's very own shadow. Right after the big splash is when I hears a giggly kind a laughter back tha other way. So I clears off my peepers best I can to find THE orneriest grin behind a snorkel mask that might - an' jest might - have had somethin' to do with my personal state of hydration. So as we make our ways back to the dock 'bout half an hour later ol' Harley who runs the bait shop just stares and shakes his head. As we get out he starts in, dad-GUMMIT Duke! How many a them there frogs you have to kiss 'fore one of 'em turns into a prin-cess? Well by then I pretty much had ta answer tha man so I let a wink and say, I say why, jest the one with the prettiest legs can'cha tell? Anyway hear what the Duke says. Them ol' English yarn-spinners were sure onto somethin' when it comes to a lady and a lake. Duke out.

(with hopes that a certain frog-catchin' uncle a mine gets back out there real, real soon...)

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Someone joked the other day about me winning the lottery, which I don't play, but all said, it would amount to a decent motor home and an mp3 player stuffed with every Springsteen track they have. Sooner or later I'll show up in your town to empty the sewage tank and see if you wanna come along for a ways, fare is one six-pack unless you pass a visual inspection. Not only do we get to see and smell the country but throw in a few state fairs and even a ball game in every park in America, and just to one-up the players I'll visit some kids in the hospital, just imagine the looks on their faces as they think, "who the hell are you?"

Thursday, July 15, 2010

it's like

Sitting on the hood of your car with a girl from years ago, except this is here and now, in the twilight there's not another soul around, and she can't seem to get enough of you, she asks should we and because you don't know what to say you start telling a story.

She patiently listens and falls asleep, in your arms you feel her breathing to a chorus of bugs, until you find yourself gently nibbling her cheek.

A bright flash of a smile turns into sighs, she runs her hands through your hair and it gets more the more, until, your thoughts take you to the late innings of a ball game.

This joint is packed tight, a grand canyon of souls, most but not all in the home team colors. Season tickets have paid off in the form of primo seats for division playoffs.

The second game could tie the series and couldn't be more heated, back and forth all night, and for just this fleeting moment all thirty odd thousand minds strike a chord, pining for extra innings, because, this is the here and now.

Monday, July 12, 2010

before a fall

At the request of the deskside support team I take the helm of a remote session. They had been trying for a while to untangle a strange issue that keeps someone's email client from opening, and I happened to be the only one on the project with experience and even certification in the platform. Having administered and deployed it for two solid years I inadvertently became a top gun, and every so often come moments where saving the day is a snap of the fingers.

As we go I try to explain things for the benefit of the techs hovering around so they can hopefully have an advantage the next time this happens. Just as I finish up the mods and open the email database I stand up and turn around even before it opens, hearing cheers and accolades from those still looking at the screen as the elusive result unfolds before their very eyes.

And so I'm smiling and slapping high fives all the way as I smack broadside into the door post.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

later that summer

We got a call during the week from the folks a few doors down, retired couple making the sojourn to Florida. Of course we'd love to help load the truck this Saturday and can you bring a side dish for the luncheon? Well, we've already got potato salad coming but how about baked beans? That's wonderful, thanks so much, see you at 8:30.

Dad and I arrive a tad early, he in his work clothes and I in Nike shorts, tank top and my brother's old ball cap. Just as we greet ol' Bud his wife comes out jabbering with a certain young lady with whom I haven't spoken in over a week. I had tried calling a few times since we went out but she never seems to be able to talk long if at all, which just seems odd because up until now our conversations had always come easily enough.

Pretty soon the group rounds out and we start with the bigger furniture as the hens finish boxing up some odds and ends. In and out of the house, on and off the truck all morning we work and joke and laugh and rib each other but she still won't hardly look at me, and if I do get an accidental glance she tries her best to play it off, sometimes well enough to fool me.

Before long we have the big stuff all in place and their son's family are coming over later to help wrap things up so let's eat, everyone to the back porch before the flies carry it off.

Call it fate but there's an empty seat next to her at one of the tables and I figure why not. I plant myself there and hardly find it surprising how she throws herself headlong into a conversation with the ladies and I may as well not even exist. So I enjoy my meal in solitude, being careful to conceal my smile with a hot dog or plastic cup as needed.

When I'm done I arise to throw out my plate. keeping the cup, and then check out the back yard, only to return in a few minutes to see her heading into the house.

Without missing a beat I proceed into the garage, then the kitchen and she stands facing the other way, the wall phone's receiver to her ear. I take a sip of my pop.

After a few seconds she says, "Hi, it's me...yeah we're all done and I've had lunch, so I'll be home after a bit...okay, I will...okay, bye."

She hangs up, leaving her hand on the receiver. I take another sip and move closer. I place my hand on her shoulder. She remains still. I step to within inches, and she doesn't move a muscle. I reach up and brush her hair back past her ear, and she turns slightly as if to conceal a clandestine grin. I lean in and lick the right side of her face, from chin to temple in a single stroke, and then, I walk home.

After showering and resting off the move I end up at a trailer park down the road, where there always seems to be something going on involving slingshots and other crude munitions. I get back a bit after eleven, grab a handful of Chex Mix to graze on as my parents doze in their recliners, then start watching an SNL rerun in my room. Halfway through the guest monologue there's a knock at the window, so I peek behind the curtain and there she is.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

up the river

A small swarm of state cruisers wails past just as we get our bikes onto the highway, spreading a wake of pebbles and dust around our tires, and just as quickly they fade into the horizon. Whatever is going on is way up past the bridge, it would seem.

Just over a mile later we make our way to that spot where the guard rail sprouts from the ground, as if it has roots, and marks a flat clearing where anglers and whoever else can head along the south shore.

For whatever reason we find this overcast morning rife with excitement and what better place to start than the riverbank, since it's probably too early for weirdos to be roaming around yet, not that we've ever seen one. We coast off the road a little ways and come to a stop facing the steep bank with about 40 yards of thick brush to water's edge. A group of us sometimes go hunting down there in winter when the growth is dead, but after a rainy spring it's a world of its own that doesn't welcome our kind.

And that's when it appeared. From beneath the bridge some type of craft emerges, at first maybe a bass boat, but no, it's a wooden raft and with someone on it, or maybe a mannequin. I turn to Jake and quip about there being a float parade here in the middle of nowhere.

As more of the barge comes into view there are several men, all wearing suits and lying in and about a white four-door Continental. Not sure what to think of this until I note the flat tires and blown-out windshield, and then the bullet wounds magically appear, as if someone had switched on a black light in some macabre special effects show.

By now I am unable to look away. It's somehow zooming towards me, forming a full-body death grip and filling my veins with the icy murk of the currents below. Finally I turn to Jake, finding him pale and still as a limestone monument straddling his bike seat.

"Hey -"

He doesn't move. I lean to take a swat and barely get the sleeve of his faded gray t-shirt, having to catch myself from falling over in the process. This brings him out of the spell a bit and he shifts his lifeless gaze down into the foreboding vastness of vegetation.

"Let's go."

Jake draws a deep breath and starts maneuvering his bike toward the road. I hold off at first to make sure he's able to keep it together, and then, I follow.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

the earth is my body

We stand in this sepia landscape, my older sister and I, next to a runoff ditch near our house, except, here we live in a farm house, and where the neighbors' should be.

But the ditch is dry and I am finding out that it can talk to us. They explain it to me as if queuing a sound bite, then a deep resounding voice has its moment, "the earth is my body."

I wander around in the wispy grass, noting weeds and withered cattails that line the eroded creek bend, and a small bare tree protruding near the bank, just a stick really, "that's his pee-pee," my sister tells me.

Then I turn and hurry toward the house as it all fades to the tune of a buzzing alarm clock.