Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Flood

The ideas rush in like a flood. Swamping me. Before one can be finished, another one. No several, are there to take its place. To tempt me. To distract me. To allure me. And then those are replaced by the next ones. The current is strong. I am drowning under a sea of ideas. The current idea is there. But it is fading under the weight of the ones coming right behind it.

Do I even want to finish it?
I don't.

Do I even want to fight the current anymore.
I don't.
I don't. I can't. I won't.

I am drowning under the weight of the lack of importance the creator places on me, the idea.

I am the idea. The idea that the creator no longer cares that much about anymore. Old news. There is a new kid in town. The teen idol. The big movie star. The hot idea and concept. They are fresh. I am old. Long forgotten.

I am a flicker of hope every now and then. The odd time I am remembered, by the creator, or asked about by others. "Oh, that. Don't bother with that. I liked that idea once, but other more interesting, better ones came along. Just forget that one, it is going nowhere."

So, I wont ever become anything but an idea who sounded great but never developed. The caterpillar turns into the butterfly. I won't ever be the butterfly. I wont get to fly. I will just drown. Be forgotten. Buried.

Today, I drowned. I just couldn't swim anymore. The rushing water got too high. I swam faster, the current increased its speed. No dam and no dyke was going to stop this. I was on the wrong side of the creation flow. Washing away, fading away into the depths of the bottom of the sea. Just floating now. Lifeless. The flood washed me out into the open sea and buried me. I was now just going to swim with the fishes. I have been reduced to fish food. Which is okay. My brain is now mush anyway.

I am an idea that will never be anything more than that. I will die as an idea unrealized as a concept or story. Nobody will remember me. Or talk about me. I am just one of the many droplets in the sea that formed together due to negligence. We exist out here, so that other hopeful ideas have a place to drown.

Both the idea and the creator get drowned by the overflow of ideas which cannot be kept up with. Whatever is fresh, is new, is what lives to see the day. But very few live to see a future as more than just an idea.

I submit. I will just write them down and finish them as fast as I can in the vain hopes of finishing them before the current, the flood, of new ones come in and overwhelm me. One day, I will just drown. Like my ideas. The price I pay for being the vessel that has to sink under the weight of extreme intuitiveness and creativity. 
The ideas and myself, it is our destiny. The one journey we always travel together.

Monday, November 26, 2012


 Part 1

I looked right at him. Stared him down.
He had been in my head for weeks. Months. No years. Really, had it been years?

Yes, it had been about 15 years now. Hard to believe he had that power over me. Fifteen fucking years. He had controlled me. Dictated to me. Stole my time.
How in the hell did he do that?
I still had no answers. In a way, he had stolen my youth. I looked him in the eye again. This time, I wasn't budging. He wasn't flinching. It was a true standoff. He seemed to be stronger than me. Much stronger. Almost like he had no heart, no soul. But a brain and a resolve to just keep dominating me.
Why was I putting up with this?
Surely someone, something that had stolen my youth would be someone I could fight back against. At the very least, I could walk away from it. No, it seems I could not. I couldn't go a day without his control over me. Whatever power he had over me, he exerted it at all times. Even when I was not in his presence, he had me. He was in my head.
I could just feel him sucking out my energy, my resolve, as we stared each other down. I got weaker. He seemed to stay the same.  Never wavered. That was it. He never changed. He was the constant. If anything, he got stronger, better, faster, as the years passed. I just got deeper into the spiders web. The deeper I went, the stronger his hold got. But he didn't seem to care either way. That was his strength. He wasn't emotional about it. He acted like he didn't care, which made me think it wasn't a big deal that he had stolen my youth.

Part 2

We just kept staring. This went on all day. We both had extreme resolve. He seemed to be staying strong. I felt a weakening inside me. I had to walk away. Now. I turned, looked away from his stare and began to edge away. He didn't try to hold me there,  he just got inside my head, one more time, to make sure I knew he was still the boss. And he was the boss. There was no doubt about that.

ou'll be back."

"No, I wont!"

"Sure you will."

"Why is that?"

ecause I have control of you, I know what you want and I am going to make sure you always want it."

"Well, good for you. But I can walk away."

o, ... you can't."

"Yes, I can."

"Go ahead then, walk away. Do it!"

ood, I will. You don't own me. You are delusional."

"Yeah, see how that goes for you."

As I walked away, I knew he was right.
he staring match was over, but he was still staring at me. I knew that, even though he wasn't in front of me anymore. And he knew that I knew. No matter what I did, even though I couldn't see him, he was still staring at me, at the blank air, just waiting for me to come back into position, so we could resume the stare down. so he could win some more.
I knew that. He knew that. We both knew that. I wasn't fooling him and I wasn't fooling myself.
As long as I was away, I knew he was waiting for me to come back. And I knew I would be back. I might as well go back. If I wasn't there, all I could think about is being there.
Might as well just be there anyway.
Fuck, I have lost all hope. All fucking hope.

 Part 3

In my room now. I feel free. But I am not. I am the delusional one. There is no escape. I look in the mirror. I see me. But I also see him, staring back at me. He is in every reflection, every shadow, every image. There is no escape. And he knows he has that power. That is why he can be so arrogant about it. He told me once that I wasn't the only one. He has others. Millions. Now, billions, under his spell. That was his true power. He knew how good he was at it because he controlled so many of us. Many had tried to walk away before, but those of us who came under the spell always learned there was no walking away once he grabbed hold of you. He had become a part of you. That is how he works. He gets inside you, becomes part of you and then, like a cancer, he spreads faster than you can remove any one piece of him. It took me a long while to realize that. He had pervaded me. He does it while he pleases you, so you invite him in. Open the door. Feed him. You offer no resistance, until any resistance is futile anyway.
there he sits, waiting, still staring, biding his time, all the while knowing that I am coming back. Knowing that even though I am not there, my mind is there. Preoccupied with him and all he brings. There is simply no escape. I am completely under his spell. I can't ever look in the mirror and see only myself anymore. He has become part of me. And he is the bigger part of me than even I am. I don't even know if this is me speaking anymore. I don't even know who me is anymore. I am him, even though I want to be just me again. Is that even possible? I don't know. He says it isn't, and he is smarter and more powerful than me. Maybe I should just give in and admit defeat.
Yes, that is what I will do, I will just give in.

Part 4

 I barely recall our first meeting. It is still very foggy. That whole time seems very foggy at this point. I remember the wonderment I had. I think he knew he had me at the first moment. He probably got most of us that way. He has something for everyone. He knows what you need. He figures that out, offers it up, hooks you in, then he has got you. Once that happens, there is no walking away. And he is so ever powerful, that there is literally nowhere you can go to get away from him. He covers all corners of the earth. And even when you do get away from him, he is in your mind.

Had enough?"

"Yeah, be smug about it."

"Well, you have the audacity to think you can just walk away from me?"

"I need to have that. I have to have that hope, If I don't,  I can't survive
. Let me have that."

"No, you need to give in. Accept it as your fate. Then, and only then, can you have peace and contentment. I am here to stay. I am now the new superpower. Submit to me. You already have anyway."

I try to r
emember what it was like before him. It seems so foreign now. I remember the guy before him. He had a great hold on me too. He is still around. But he is not the superpower anymore. This guy obliterated him. I am not sure anybody can take this guy down though. He is so fucking powerful. This might be the end of all of us. It certainly feels like the end of me. Can I get me back? I doubt it. Maybe this is me now. I have to accept that. The cancer that is him wont kill me, just remain. But can't be removed. I have to learn to live with it. Accept it. As he says. He is starting to make sense. Of course I will think that way. He speaks for me now. I don't really have a brain, an independent thought. He speaks for me. He thinks for me. He is writing this right now. I better watch what I say, I don't want to make him mad. He is very powerful you know.

Part 5

You bet I am powerful. And I knew it right away. You have to see this kind of power up close to really understand the significance and majesty of it.

I remember the exact moment I stumbled on to it. I knew right away the power I now had in my hands. It was plain to see for anyone that cared to notice. I noticed. I didn't even know if I wanted it. That is a lot of pressure. Having that kind of control over people. But, I learned how to deal with it.
just don't care. I am indifferent. Uncaring, unfeeling. Once you don't care, it is very easy to destroy lives. And then you get good at it,  and you kind of enjoy it. That never seems to wear off.
And now, when they resist, when they beg, when they plot, trying to find any way to g
et out from under that superglue grip I have over their entire being, it is an even bigger rush. They don't realize--if they just became indifferent like me--then they would be free. If they stopped caring about the control I have, then I would lose it.
But then, they are so preoccupied with breaking the grip, they hold on to it themselves.

I really don't have to do much. I just get them hooked, like a college kid just trying cocaine once to see what it is like, I have got them. They then give over control. Let me control them without any effort on my part.
The truth is that I don't really have any control. They still have control of it themselves. They just can't be bothered taking responsibility for that.


                                 Part 6
I am left at a loss. How do I stop this? Can I stop this? I don't know. It doesn't seem that there is anyone else who has figured it out either. I look around. We are all sheep, being herded by his power and control. And he knows it. He has something we have become addicted to. Preoccupied on. He is the foodstuff we need to live another day. It is that essential to us. Or at least we think it is. Is it? I think it is. I don't know. Seems like it is. 
Maybe if I just pulled the plug. Took away his power source. Can I do that? I can try. What have I got to lose? 
I know full well what I've got to lose. He might decide to never come back when I turn the power back on. He has that control over me. He knows I need him. He has become essential to me. Essential,  yet destructive all at the same time.
Nope, pulling the power wont work. I have to change the mindset.  My own mindset. I have to get back to that place. That place I was before he came along. When nobody mattered to me more than me. Where I called my own shots. Where I had control over myself. Yes, that is what I have to do. Find that place. Go to that place. That place where he can't get to me. Where he can't stare me down anymore. That place where the me still resides.

                                     Part 7

"You're back"

"Yeah, I'm back, you said I would be, so you can't possibly be surprised."

"nope,  not surprised at all. You all come back. You need me. I know that. That is why I am so arrogant about it."

"Well, maybe I wont be back one time."

"How do you figure that?"

"I think I have found a way out. You can't follow me everywhere."

"Oh yeah, good for you. You might be one of the lucky ones. Might."

"Well, we shall see. I think you know what I am talking about."

"I do. Go for it. I don't need you. For every one of you that might escape, as few as you are, there are millions more that are just waiting to get trapped in the spiders web."

"Yeah, well, that is going to change. When I figure my way out, I am going to show them. Convince them that they have a way out too."

"Are you now? Good for you. You think they will listen?"

"I think so. They are hurting like me. They need a way out. They will jump at the chance."

"I wouldn't be so sure about that. Many don't see it like you. They are happy to be sheep. To be controlled. They live off the fix I give them. They want it. They don't want it to end. They never want it to end."

He made some valid points. Do I want this fix to end? I don't know. It is so confusing. I know I want to try. I am afraid of the end result, but I know I don't want to continue on this way. It is a risk I am just going to have to take. I have no clue how this goes, but I am certain I have to go to that place, that place I was before he got his hooks into me. I can't be concerned with the others. Either they follow me, or become his disciples and gang up on me. For now, I journey to the place where hope lies. Where it exists.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Dream of Denial

Sitting on the bench awaiting my chance. My chance will come. It has to come. I was once the best. Don't they realize that? They have to.
I get it. There are others who are better now. I accept that. I will wait for my chance. It will come. They will take their turns, and then they will turn to me. Why aren't they turning to me?
The starter is now out of the game. Sure, they went to the number 2 guy. I get it. I am not the number 2 guy either. I know, I have fallen. A lot. I am way down the pecking order now. But still, I have to be at least the 3rd or 4th option. Surely they see that. You don't just lose it all. I was the best. I still have it. Just put me out there, and they will see. I just have to bide my time. Wait for my chance. Wait for another chance.
I will be the best again. Once I am out there, they will see. I was unhittable. I will be that again. They say I can't pitch anymore. My arm is dead. I have no juice left in it. They are wrong. Wait until I am out there. They will see. I will blow them away.
The second guy is now done. Here comes my chance. What? Another guy? I am better than that guy. Okay, now I am getting the message. They are not going to put me out there. What the fuck is going on here? I think, at the very least, I have earned my chance at one more shot. But, obviously they don't see it that way. The game is out of reach now. Four more guys have come and gone and here I sit at the end of the bench. The coach is not going to put me in. I can see that now.
One day, I will be with a new team, and I will get my chance. And I will show them. I still got it. That is what I said, on the last 3 teams that I failed on.
I guess I am only kidding myself. And I will keep doing that. One day, I will get it back. I have to. I just have to.
This dream, the one I have once a month, this dream of denial, never dies.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

From one blade of grass to another

"Ah, life is glorious, isn't it?"

"well kid, it is, but it is dangerous, and fleeting. Enjoy it while it lasts, because it won't. I have seen many like you come and go."

"What do you mean?. Life is great. We sit out in the sun all day, get some water on us when that becomes necessary.
The people they love us. They love to look at us. We are glorious and green and they all want us."

"Well, all that is true, but I have seen many like you, and they are now gone. They fall into that trap of growing proud and strong, and then, one day, a mower comes along, and you are chopped off, and dead."

"That won't happen to me, I will grow so beautiful, they will only want to trim me."

"Five million of your friends said that last year, and now, here I sit, with you, and they.....are...done."

"So, what is your secret then?"

"Keep your head up. Pay attention. Watch out for the guy that owns this place. When he is around, hide down below some other blade. Let him get cut. Then sprout back up and make him desire you."

"Wow, that is great advice, thanks. Is that all there is to know?"

"Hardly. Stay away from those weed people. They will crowd you. They will suffocate you. And the owner doesn't like them. He will dig them up and kill them with sprays. If you are anywhere near them, you will be a casualty of their demise, their ultimate demise."

"Again, thanks. I never thought of that."

"There is so much you need to learn kid. We can talk again, if you survive the night. I heard from the blade of grass on the other side of the lawn that the owner is doing yard work this week. Better watch your back."

"I will".

"And grow deep roots, that is the only way you survive long term. I saw Moses part the red sea, and I will see Martians land on the train tracks over there one day. If you want to do the same, make a plan, and stick to it."

"I want to survive. I really do. I guess I thought my being glorious and green was enough. I thought they appreciated me. That I was special."

"You mean nothing to them. They can go to the store and get millions more, just like you. Where do you think you came from?"

"I never thought of that, I guess I just wasn't thinking. I wasn't using my head."

"Lay low kid. Weeds are stupid. They sprout up, and glorious and proud. The next thing you know, they dig them up..or spray pesticide on them. Idiots. They not only get themselves killed, but some of my best friends died because of them."

"Again, thanks."

"Remember one last thing. You think I am old and worn. I am not. I just appear that way. When the owner comes around, I make like I am just new, green, proud, bright and shiny. He looks at me, then he looks away. I have survived doing that forever."

Friday, May 4, 2012

A cat I called Sugar

When you train racehorses and hang around barns you see a lot of things that others don't. This story is not about all those crazy things or stories that I could tell you.  I will save those for another time.
Growing up I have always loved animals. All animals. But I had a phobia about cats for whatever reason. I always thought they would scratch and bite me. I even had dreams about it. I have been bitten by dogs,  which I have loved as long as I can remember,  but I have never had a dream about it. And I have never been scared of any dogs. I don't know where my cat phobia started but I avoided them at all cost when I was very young.
As the years went by I just seemed to encounter the odd cat here and there,  and as they all seemed friendly, I got over it. Cats are just like any other animal.  if you let them come to you they will be very friendly and loving. There are exceptions to that rule and those ones let you know to back away.
By the time I got my first "real" job running my Uncle's factory I had completely gotten over the cat phobia. I liked cats. Even loved cats. At that time I also had my dog Minnie, a big,  lovable black Labrador retriever, and she would come with me to the factory everyday. Sometimes she would follow me around,  while other times she would just lie around and sleep in my office. Minnie loved all things, no matter what. But she was enthusiastic and did not understand that other living things could be scared of her.
There were times in our backyard at home that Minnie would chase a cat just to play with them, corner them and then get scratched on the nose. Many a time she came back in the house with a bloody nose. That never stopped her from doing it again. She was just lovable and carefree like that.
In my Uncle's factory, they had an old cat they called Maria. The sweetest and most lovable cat you ever met. And very tame. Nothing fazed old Maria.  She would just make her way around the factory, and most times just lie around. She would stand up if you went to pet her,  but otherwise she was very quiet and old. She had to be 15 by the time I met her. Minnie,  being Minnie,  went right up to her and sniffed her out. Maria,  unlike most cats just lied there and let Minnie feel her out.  Minnie licked her on the nose and they were best friends. After a while,  Maria and Minnie hung out together in my office and I got to love cats after knowing Maria.
A few years later I began to train racehorses and my first stop was the barn of Joe Gasparro. I only knew of this place because a co worker of mine, Don Altman, knew Joe from way back. They were both in their 70s while I was barely 30. Joe was different. Very different. He kept the barn although there was no one using it for a few years. There was shit all over the place. Cob webs everywhere. Old junk and vehicles everywhere. When I brought my horses there to train I was the only tenant. Most of the time I was there by myself. Joe had some horses,  but they lived outside and didn't really need any care. He put one big bale of hay out for them and they ate that for weeks before he had to replace it. Other than that there was one cat,  they called her "Mama". In the days when that barn was full of tenants,  she had quite a few litters of kittens.  Hence her name.
Mama was also a very sweet loving cat. But she was scared of dogs.  Many a late night after I had worked all day and trained the horses until dark,  I would be alone in the barn. Just me, the horses, Minnie and Mama. Minnie would chase Mama but she could never catch her. Mama was older but she was very fast and she was not about to let Minnie or any other dog eat her. She had survived barn life where most cats maybe lasted a year or two. Mama was a very sweet cat, and when Minnie was not there she would also follow you everywhere and fall asleep on your lap.
After a few more stops I ended up at a barn just north of where I lived.  It was a good place to be, in that I knew a lot of the people there and cut down on my travel time. When I first arrived one thing was very plain. There was a lot of cats. More than thirty. The female ones were constantly becoming pregnant. There was also varying degrees of friendliness. Some cats were very friendly, others gave you the time of day but mostly because you fed them, while there were a few who were very feral and would not ever let you touch them.
I have always been the type who could relate to any animal and get them to come to me. There was one cat in the barn,  a cream colored female, who had lived longer than the average cat would at a barn. She was about 3 or 4 years old. She was pleasant enough but no one had ever touched her and she was very careful to make sure you never did. It was commonly held that no one would ever touch this cat. I maintained I would get her to sit on my lap while I petted her, which sounded like a pipe dream to everyone else.
Most barn cats have trouble staying clean and their coats become dirty..or matted..or unsightly. Not this cat. She was immaculate. It was as if she was a house cat and was brushed every two hours. Unlike many barn cats she was also very healthy and maintained a nice healthy weight.
About 3 or 4 months went by and still I had not touched her. She would come up close to me and it was clear she wanted to be friendly, but she was not trusting enough and had a fear of humans. Because I was very animal friendly,  she felt safe to live in my tack room, which really was just a stall. That is what we used for tack rooms. When I was in their tending to my equipment or feed, she just lay there, comfortable enough to just relax. But if I got too close to her, she got nervous and if I got within petting range she was set to scurry out of the room. She would never hiss or threaten you like some barn cats who didn't want to be handled would, but she definitely was not going to be handled.
As summer approached it was very hot and we got to sitting down more, both in the barn and outside in the shade. At times this cat, which I had now named Sugar because she was so sweet, would just about brush up against my leg. As long as I didn't touch her, she now had a comfort level to do that. At times I would have my hand inches from her back and she would not move. However as soon as I made the slightest contact she would still scurry off. This went on for about another month. Winter was now approaching and smart barn cats that stay alive learn to find warm blankets to sleep in at the barn. Sugar had learned it was okay to sleep in my tack room on two or three blankets. I never gave her a hard time like other guys in the barn who did not want the cats in their room or messing up the blankets.
Each morning I would see Sugar and she would now brush up against my leg. Still no contact with my hand,  but as I got closer now,  each time she would not shy away.  I knew it was a matter of time until she would let me pet her. Her guard was now down and she trusted me.
As I was sitting in my tack room one winter day, Sugar was rubbing against my leg and my hand was loosely on her back. She was not moving. All of a sudden, she just hopped on my lap and sat there. Complete trust. She let me pet her and she moved her head into my hand. The barriers were completely gone. The cat they said no one would ever touch was now friendly. Not with everyone, but with the ones she knew she could trust.
For weeks she was the friendliest and most loving cat in the barn. I went to race out of town for a few days and when I came back I noticed she wasn't around. I asked others what had happened to her,  but of course they didn't know.
Being that it is a barn any number or things could have happened. Hit by a car. Killed by a fox. Just run away. Anything could happen. Usually though, you would find a body somewhere. That never happened with her. About two weeks went by and I was cleaning my tack room and I lifted up my blankets, the ones I was not using.
Deep under the blankets I found Sugar. She had died about 2 weeks earlier. I suspect she froze to death. It was a sad ending after all we had been through to gain that trust.
The cat I called Sugar. At least she died having learned to trust. Many barn cats came and went over the time I trained horses. Many were friendly and nice, but she is really the only one I remember. She will never be forgotten. I hope,  wherever she is that she didn't forget me.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Aint no stopping me now

I was hanging around the school, just waiting to play hoops in the schoolyard. I was an adult now, but I still loved to just shootaround or play pickup. Even if the kids were much younger than me, I didn't care. I still liked a good game of ball from time to time. In some ways, I have never grown up.  And...I don't want to. I am very mature and responsible, but I like to still be kid-like.
I noticed a bus outside the front of the school with kids gathering in front of it. Some began to board the bus, but it had been 30 minutes now and they had not left. I wondered what was going on.
A teacher was standing just around the corner, having a smoke, so I asked him what was going on. He told me they were waiting for the bus driver but he had not showed up yet. I said that was too bad and went back to shooting hoops.
About 10 minutes later I heard that the bus driver was not coming, at all. They would have to cancel the trip.
I said I wanted to help. I am always wanting to help. Even when I probably shouldn't, or don't know what is being asked of me, or if I am actually capable of helping, I want to try and help.
The regular driver backed out at the last minute, so they asked me if I could help. I had driven large vehicles before, so why not a bus? I said yes, I would do it.
For whatever reason, even though I was needed and supposed to drive the bus there, I did not. I was just a passenger. I don't know why it worked that way, or remember who drove the bus to that park, but someone else did. Phew! Half the battle was done. I had gotten myself in too deep, but at least I had a shot of pulling this off.
The kids ran off and played while I ate my lunch. My Uncle Stanley was there, and he asked me if I was still okay to drive the bus back to the school. He was now giving me an out. I could get out of this, and not have to face up to the fact that I was not qualified to drive that bus. But, I told him that I was okay to drive it. I was going to do this,  even though I shouldn't be doing this.
As the kids loaded back onto the bus, I surveyed the controls from the driver seat. How hard could this be? Yes, I had never driven a standard transmission before, but I had driven a forklift in the warehouse many times,  and that was standard, so I should be able to pull this off. Of course, driving a forklift in the factory meant no other vehicles, or pedestrians or even having to stop fast. I was only fooling myself this time.  I had no shot at pulling this off. We had to take the highway back to the school, and at top highway speed, I was in way over my head to stop properly if something happened. Hell, whatever! I had the emergency brake and if I stripped the gears, so what? I would just manage and bullshit my way through things, like I always did. That was always my way. Why stop now?
All the kids were on board, and Uncle Stanley was in the first seat,  first row, to my right.

"Lets go", and as he said that, I put it in gear, and we were on our way.

At least I could pull this part off. I knew how to engage a clutch and move from neutral to first gear. So far, I still looked like I knew what I was doing. We moved towards the road. Now, the first test, could I merge into traffic,  safely, and appear to make it look like I knew what I was doing? What if someone cuts right in front of me? Will I be able to stop? Am I foolishly risking young, innocent lives by doing this, just to be my stubborn self and prove that I can pull this off? Why am I doing this? What is wrong with me that I can't admit that I cannot do something?
Again, whatever! I said to myself. Worst thing that happens is I pull the emergency brake,  or slam on the brakes, and ruin the transmission. No one will get hurt. I can make up a bullshit excuse to smooth it over. I always could and I always have.
It's just a dream anyway. So, I will wake up before anything bad really happens anyway. And it is just a dream, nothing is real in a dream, just the doubts that you have when you are awake. That you can't deny or shut down,  or dismiss when you are dreaming.
 As always, before I had to deal with the consequences of my doubts about why it is I do what I do when I should not do what I do,  I woke up. I am sure I will have this exact dream again, or something just like it, and the cycle will continue. That is, until I deal with it when I am awake.  So far, that has never happened.
I am very confident and cocky when I am awake, but when I sleep and dream, I have all the doubts that everyone else has. Don't know what that means, but it is fact.
You can run really fast from the truth when you are awake, but the truth catches up easily when you are dreaming.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Letting Go Halfway by Mark David

Back in 1998 when I first started to train racehorses I did very well at it. Better than anyone expected, and relative to the stock I had, better than most could do.
As time went on, I still did well,  but not as well as I should have. I have some theories on that, and all of them are somewhat valid, but mostly it boils down to one thing. But more on that later.
After a while of winning way more than my share with very ordinary horses, I ran into several problems. Among them was that I didn't have my own place to stable, or adequate money or time to do what I needed to do. There was also the fact that I am very honest and horse training in today's day and age involves a bit of cheating to succeed. But mostly, the reality was, I sabotaged myself. I raced the horses above where they could be truly competitive and make the most money, and ultimately win races. Why would I do that? Bottom line is, as I started to do well, others wanted me to train horses for them, and the expectations that brought on me was not something I was prepared to deal with. By not doing as well as I was capable of, I solved that problem. This was not the first time I had done this, but more about that later.
When I was young, I was an active child. Not the kind running around the house always bouncing off the walls. That wasn't me. I did do all sorts of physical activities, but mostly it was my mind that was always going. To some extent, that has never changed.
I remember one thing in particular and one thing later in my early teens that bore this out.
Like most boys I had toy Cowboys and Indians. Like most boys, I played with them and my friends, and we chose sides and fought mock wars. But after the playmates went home, I didn't stop. My playmates were good kids, fun kids, but they weren't me. They could not create major story lines, name the characters, create elaborate war scenes and progressions like I could. So, after they went home, I did that for myself. I had a creative side at a very early age that has persisted to this day.
In addition to being creative, I was also always really good at math. I liked to also figure stuff out, and keep track of things. Many times I remember as a child being told "One day you will be an accountant" and "you should be a statistician when you grow up". I could have been both of those things, as I am more than capable and competent at both of those professions, to this day.
But I didn't want to do it for a living, and I made that clear to anyone who asked. I have always been creative and wanted to write and create stories, as I did with the Cowboys and Indians. I have always liked keeping track of things and figuring them out, but for a personal interest, not as a career. So ended any career path in those directions very early on.

Being a young Jewish boy in the early 70s, it was commonplace to find the kids talent and foster that with an eye to becoming a professional. My major natural talent was Math. I am very good at math and I always have been.
During elementary school I would write creative stories and they were very good. But I was never rewarded for that. They were dismissed as just something I could do. If I did well at math I got praise for that. I never wanted it, but I got it anyway.
One day in grade 3, they gave special tests to determine skills that certain children possess. As would naturally happen, I scored very high on math. I was in grade 3 but I had a better than grade 6 level already.
A week or so later, my parents showed up at school and we met in the Principals office. I had no idea what this was about, but when I got there it was clear what was going on. Because of my elevated level of math ability, I was to be taken out of my grade 3 class, and away from all of my friends who I played sports and recess with, and moved to a special class for gifted kids.

I said okay to this, because that is what my teachers and parents wanted, but I never wanted it. Being a smart kid, even at that age I was crafty enough to know how to get out of such a predicament on my own.
When I got to the new class, I basically tanked any test I took until they decided that it was a mistake and moved me back. When I got back to my math class for Grade 3 I made sure to never score higher than average so I would not stand out again. That original test I had taken just looked like a fluke now and they left me alone.
That is until grade 7, when we had moved and I was now in a different town, different school and had all new teachers.
I guess I wanted to show how smart I was in this new setting and environment, so I was the new kid with all the answers. The teachers took note. Again, it came time to take the assessment tests. This time though, I was ready for this and wasn't stupid. I made sure I tanked the assessment test. How did I do this?
I basically skipped one line and then by doing that got every answer wrong on one whole page, thereby lowering my score to average at best, maybe even lower than average.
Because they noticed what I had done (I wasn't as crafty as I first had thought) they made me take the test again. This time, I answered on the right lines, but I deliberately got enough wrong to make sure I was just a bit above average, but not special. Problem solved, and they left me alone.
Two years later, we moved again. New town, new school, new teachers.
One of my favorite teachers, and one I remember the most, was Mrs. Rubin, the math teacher. Unlike a lot of math teachers, she taught all grades, from grade 9 up to grade 12. We came across each other multiple times over the 5 years I was in high school. I also had many connections with Mrs. Rubin.
Firstly, while she was not a beauty queen, she was an attractive woman and I had a bit of a crush on her. Second, her daughter was best friends with my cousin. So I would come across Mrs. Rubin at some of the functions for my cousin and her brothers and sisters.
Mrs. Rubin was not your average teacher. She was very sharp, and recognized how good I was at math. Since I had that crush on her, I was eager and motivated to please. When a question was asked, I always had the answer ready and put up my hand. At all times through all years, she knew who I was. She knew how smart I was.
However, when it came time for the test,  I would only score just above average. One day she made me stay after class and asked me what was going on. I said I didn't know, but I did, and I knew she did. She ended up letting it go. We never really spoke about it again.
As the years went by, she would mention on some occasions that I was the smartest kid she ever taught who got the worst grades and how frustrating that was for a teacher.

So what had happened? I had learned to stop trying halfway, so I would not be moved out of the element that I enjoyed, which was being with my friends.
As my life has progressed and I reflect on that, it is clear to me that I have never stopped doing that. No matter where my natural talent takes me, I always tank on some level so I don't fall into that trap.
I can think of many examples of this. When I was young, I was also a very good baseball player. A pitcher. I could throw harder than anyone and I was better than most. I was scouted young and it was expected I could be drafted if I stayed on track. With that kind of ability came large expectations. Being on the stubborn side as well, I ignored the advice that I should not pitch too much and ruin my arm, which is exactly what I ended up doing. By doing this, in retrospect, I was ensuring that I didn't have to get to the point where performance was expected of me.
In University, I had the goal to be a professional basketball coach, and I was on track for that. When I graduated, I had opportunities to pursue that, but instead I took the easy route and began working for my uncle running his factory. When  that blew up two years later, I blamed him for ruining my chance to be a coach, but the reality is that I sabotaged myself again and only have myself to blame in retrospect.
The trap for me is fear of expectation. As soon as I show my natural talent, things become expected of me. Those things are not always want I want to do, so I hold back and deliberately don't achieve my full potential. I find ways to sabotage my true level of achievement. 
As I move forward with my new found passion (writing scripts), I have come to realize that I am doing it again.
In reality, no matter what I do, I stop just short of doing it to the level I actually can, and in many cases do not finish the projects I can, so I don't have to deal with the expectation that will come with that.
In life we hope that we learn from our mistakes so we don't repeat them. I am hoping, some 40 years later, that I have licked this problem and won't repeat the countless mistakes I have made along the way.

The Power by Mark David

You want it. You all want it. I have it. I don't want it.
I have never wanted it. I have no choice. It was given to me and no matter what I do, I cannot give it away. It exists inside me. I exude it. I am riddled with it.
I have tried to run from it, but it always runs faster than me and catches up. I know now,  I can never run faster than it. I have given up trying to do that.
Whatever I do, even subconsciously, you sense it. You see it,  even when I do not. I have no clue what you see, but it is evident that you see it. You are attracted to a moth to the light. I have it and I know that, but I cannot see what you see. When I look in the mirror I see nothing. I feel it inside, but I don't see it on the outside. But you do. It has consumed my vision to the point that I am blinded by it.
I am the light. I am the light of power that sucks you in, burns you, consumes you and leaves you weakened.
I have no access or control to the switch that turns off the power to the light. I am only the light, not the superpower that gives or takes away the power..or the light.
Would I want to give away the power that has been given to me? I don't know. So far, I have not had that option presented. I know I don't like having it, and do certain conscious things to block the access to the power by others. But that is only temporary.  I certainly cannot block it on a continuing basis. And like any other thing that is attractive to others but abhorred by the carrier,  over time it surfaces. Again and again and again.
I know I never wanted it, or wished for it, or asked for it.  I don't remember a time when I didn't have it, so it came long before I could have built a shield to resist it.  Now, it seems embedded inside of me. It made its way in easily enough, but it has no will or way to escape. It appears it is here to stay.
I don't want it, but I am fully aware of how to use it. I can make you do things,  want things, give me things, just from the power inside me. I hate myself for that, but I carry on using it. In many ways, I am evil for doing that. But I can't stop. I think having that power, being granted that power means I must use it. It is beyond my will to not use it. I suppose if I didn't, it would destroy me. So maybe it is self preservation and selfishness that makes me do with it what I will. Maybe. Maybe not.  I don't know. If I ever lose it, then maybe I can make a better assessment on a Monday Morning Quarterback basis.  In the middle of it all,  knee deep, I have no way of doing that. It is so consuming to have it, there really is no chance for meaningful reflection. Just as it is easy to say that the quarterback should have done X or Y, that quarterback only had split seconds to make that decision. It's a lot easier to figure it out after the fact. No pressure,  no time constraint.
You love it. I hate it. I have it.  You want it. Kind of seems like it is misplaced.  Like most things in life it has not found a rightful owner. Like most things in life, it never will.

The phone rang. The World Changed. By Mark David

My sister was playing with her barbies in her room. It was just about dinner time. Normally my father would be home just about then.
You always knew when my dad pulled into the driveway. We had a large garage, with an automatic remote opener. You could hear the garage make its way up the track.  It was very loud. My bedroom was just above the garage and Mickey and Velvet would come running into my room barking up a storm. Those dogs loved my dad.
As soon as the engine shut off, they rushed downstairs to greet him.
This night though my dad wouldn't be home for dinner. He had a busy restaurant and had been working late hours. Once baseball season started he would make time, but for now he was burning the candle at both ends.
I was in my room playing with my baseball cards and reading sports magazines.

Then it happened.

The phone rang. I assumed it was my dad calling my mother to tell her it was just going to be another late night.
"Oh,  god, No!" my mother cried as she crumbled to the ground.
She was completely hysterical. I had seen my mother like this many times before, but never on this level. It was like the world was over.
My sister and I rushed to the kitchen where the phone was. My mother slumped on the floor, the phone hanging down.
She was trying to speak, but she was crying so hard you couldn't understand anything. She was in complete hyperventilate mode. A few minutes passed and all she could say was:
"He's dead. He's gone. I can't believe he's gone"
My sister also began crying. I just stood there quiet, holding my mother. I was always the rock.
After a few more minutes, my mother, with my help, made her way to the couch.
"I can't believe it, my father is gone. He was so healthy. We just saw him last week".
It was the spring of 1975, and I was only 10. I had never known anyone who died to that point. My grandfather was the first one. And of course, it was a shock.
Just like that, my grandfather went out from the variety store that he owned and operated with my grandmother to go get something from his car. He never returned. When my grandmother went out to find him, she found him dead on the backseat. Some kind of stroke or heart attack. To this day I still don't know. And don't care.
We lived in Montreal, and my grandparents lived in Toronto. We saw them two or three times a year, and I never had the thought they wouldn't be around.
After that day, my grandmother and mother were never the same.
The phone rang. The world changed.
All down the streets and towns and countries of the world, people sat and ate their dinner or played with barbies and hockey cards. Their world's hadn't changed that day. Another day their phones would ring. Then their world would change.

Slave To You By Mark David

I am a slave to you. From the moment I awake until the moment I sleep, you are always on my mind. Even more than that, in my dreams, you are there. Tempting me, arousing me, taunting me, distracting me.
You have even got my friends doing it. They know how to keep my mind on you.
There is no escape. You are everywhere I go. You have completely infected my thoughts. There is a piece of you in everything. Even when it is not overt, you are there, to remind me that you are the boss of me. The boss of my thoughts.
With that in mind, I surrender. You have beaten me. You own me. I wave the white flag.
Take me as yours and do what you will.
Maybe it was my destiny to be your servant. Only time will tell. Now lets see if you can hold my attention when the next demon comes along to distract and slay me.
Others have been successful in the past, taking me away from the owner who claimed me as theirs. You are powerful. Yes. Very powerful. You are the life force and the passion that can consume even the strongest of men.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Power To Stop

 hey hey hey it's a beautiful day.

It was a nice sunny day and I had chores to do. One of them was mowing the lawn. I had weeded the grass on the weekend, so now it was time to cut it and make it look polished.

I have mowed the grass hundreds of times in my life. It is the same every time. Back and forth. Nothing special. One end, then turn around, and back the other way,  until it is done. I love the look of a freshly cut lawn. It is just pleasing to the eye. It is one of the reasons I love golfing in the spring.
The birds were lurking all around. Chirping and flying all over, it was a feast for them. We just had the first hard rain in months and the worms were rising to the surface.
As I mowed the grass that day, I noticed the dew on the tops of my running shoes.  Because it was August and the heart of a very hot, dry summer, the ground had sucked it all up and the grass was mostly dry. But, the worms were rising to the surface. They always did on days like this. Of course, I am not stupid. I know as I mow that I am killing all sorts of things. Little bugs, ants and, of course, worms. What I didn't get, the birds would. It is a jungle out there,  survival of the fittest,  and all that.

 I am sure that I step on thousands of worms as I mow my lawn. And, I have killed many thousands of ants, worms, flies and mosquito's in my lifetime. But this one time,  I stopped to adjust the cord on the mower. As I did that, I saw a tiny worm, squirming as it rose to the surface, the dirt that lay cover to it now unfurled. A tiny worm, who's brief and totally insignificant life now hung in the balance. 

Of course, this worm probably had no clue that it's life was now hanging in the balance. It isn't human and doesn't have the thought processes that we do. Or does it?

 Maybe worms, and other small creatures,  like bugs and ants, are capable of higher thought processes. Do they understand fear? Can they compute impending danger?
I started to think they could.
And then he spoke to me. The power of the voice of the worm spoke to me. He became a feeling, living thing. He just wanted to squirm, to toil in his soil. To exist. To have the life, albeit brief, that he was born to have. He asked me to spare him, to think of him, to be sympathetic to his feelings. He had a family to consider. I should think of that.

 I never had before, but now I was. I had all the power. He had none. I was a man, a big man. Big enough to just step on him, and end his life. So much power.
Men have so much power. When I say men, I mean humans. Men and women. We can so easily hurt, and kill with the power we have.

 "think it's time we stopped, hey,  what's that sound, everybody look what's going down."

 And that power isn't just brute force. We have the power to love, and the power to hurt with love.  We have the power to enrich hearts and to break them. We can destroy with war, or we can try to resolve with peace. We have the power to figure out a better way. Those are great powers, but most of us never think of the power we have within us. The power to stop. Yes,  I could easily step on this worm. What is one more worm?
 The power to stop. I realized my ultimate power was the power I had within me to stop abusing the power I had.

"war, what is it good for,  absolutely nothing." 

 The greatest power I had was not to kill, but the power to stop myself from killing. I had rarely used that power, the power of a thought process that aims to do good,  to create life,  to preserve life,  rather that to destroy it,  crush it,  take it.
So, I exercised my ultimate power, my greatest power. The power I had that day was not to kill a worm, but to save a worm. Just one worm, but one worm who would likely produce thousands of worms, and thousands of worms who would go on to produce millions of worms. My power was now creation, not destruction.

"think about it, there must be higher love."

 I let him live, and in some way, I am sure I will  reap the benefits that karma will bring me for that.  Maybe he will do what worms do. Whatever that is. Whatever their purpose is,  I am sure that I will get the benefit of letting him get that destiny.

How much power do you have?

How much do you want to have?

Would you reject it if it felt like too much? 

I know I have the power to do great things, now that I realize the power I have is not to destroy, but to enrich..and create.

 "All we are saying is give peace a chance."

Friday, April 6, 2012

Learning The Language

This is a story about a visitor to my house.  It does have some explicit sex involved. Read at your own discretion.
My parents never had the best relationship and at some point it had to end. That came in 1986. At that time, money was a bit tight. By then, my sister had gotten married and moved out, and we had three empty rooms in the house. My mother decided to generate some income by taking in some summer students from York University. Since we had three empty rooms, we took in 3 borders. They were all very different.
One young guy was Italian, and spoke almost no English. He was nice enough and a good house guest, but I don't remember much about him.
A second guy, Dan,  was about 22 or 23 and was an American. I can't remember why he was here to study, but he was and it wasn't to learn English. He might have been the one teaching English at the University, but I am not sure either way. He was an interesting young guy,  although he did keep to himself and to his room most of the time. At this point in our lives, even though my parents had split up, my father was still in a lot of trouble and we had to deal with a lot of that. It was my mothers opinion that maybe Dan was a plant, a spy for the government to try and get some dirt on my father by listening to our conversations and reporting back. I don't know if that was ever true. I doubt it was, but he did learn a lot about our family. He even mentioned later on before he left that he realized we thought he could be a spy. Later in the fall, when something happened with my father (which I will go into in another story), we had to run to Chicago the next day, and Dan came along. A bit after that, for whatever reason, and one I can't remember, he moved out and on with his life. We never heard from him again.

The third border was a French woman from Quebec named Jocelyn. She spoke broken English. She was clearly French and she was in the news business but wanted to learn English so she could advance her career. That is why she was taking the English classes at the University. My memory is that she was somewhere around 27 or 28. I was 21 at the time.  

Although she spoke very poor English,  she was very friendly and chatty. I got to know Jocelyn a bit, as I was always good at relating to women, especially older women. Jocelyn confided in me that while she had a boyfriend back home in Quebec it was not going well and she was not satisfied. Part of the reason she came here was to get away from it all and take a break from him. I heard many conversations over the phone when they would fight, and she would be in tears. We did have some attraction, but nothing was happening for the first month to six weeks she stayed with us. I got the sense that because I was much younger than her, she was holding back. She did drop me hints that she was interested, and many times came out of the shower in a towel  that revealed quite a bit for me to see. My room was just outside that shower and she knew I would see her if she did that.
I remember it being a very hot summer. Boiling hot in fact. Jocelyn liked to sit out in the sun every day. I spent a lot of time outside practicing my golf swing and just generally getting some sun myself. That summer I worked for my uncle at his factory,  so I could take days off if I wished. And I did wish that. I liked to enjoy my summer and had made more than enough money by mid July for next years tuition and books.

 Jocelyn liked to sunbathe topless. She did lie on her stomach, but at times, she would turn over and I could see her breasts and she was very well built. Of course, being a young guy raging with hormones, I noticed that. I didn't know if she knew I could see her, but I assumed she could. There was a room that faced out to the backyard where she lied on a towel on the grass, and I could watch her from there. I did that a few times. 

It was a hot and sunny summer with very few rainy days, so this was a daily occurrence for Jocelyn. She got braver and braver as the summer went on and at one point would just lie on her back for quite some time topless. She had to know I could see her, but she didn't seem to care. At all times she did this, Dan and the Italian guy were at school, so she knew I was only one home.
The plan was that Jocelyn would stay until Labor day and then go back to her job in Quebec. We were now 2 weeks from that happening, and to this point, nothing had happened between us.
I decided to take a day off and go golfing, but that day turned into a very rainy day. I could not golf, nor could Jocelyn sunbathe that day. I went down to the kitchen to make lunch and she was in the den, across from the kitchen, reading. She always liked to read, even when she was laying out in the sun, she was always reading a book. I said hi and asked her what she was reading as I waited for my plate of french fries to cook. She showed me. It was an erotic story about two lovers who met by accident. While she chatted and looked at me, I noticed she didn't have a bra on, or any underwear. She clearly noticed that I noticed that. There was some sexual tension, but I was not going to make any move,  especially on a house guest who was 6 or 7 years older than me.

I ate my fries and offered her some. She took a few and then I took the rest up to my room. A few minutes later, while I was listening to the radio, I heard a knock on my door. I told her to come in,  and she did.
She asked if she could have more fries, sat next to me and took them off my plate. I could feel her naked leg rub up against mine. We both felt that.
 As she moved her hand onto my leg she asked me:
"You like me, right?"
I nodded that I did. She leaned into me and we kissed as she moved my hands under her top and onto her breasts. I had been with a few girls, but never a real woman like Jocelyn. Of course I had fantasized about her many times, but now it was happening. I was extremely hard and she reached over and felt that.
I was a jock, so I didn't date much. I loved girls, I always have, but sports was always more important to me. The few I did date and have sex with were very inexperienced like me, so it was basic and clumsy sex. I simply did not know any better at the time.

"I'm going to take off your shorts, that is ok, right?" she said as she moved her hand to the button and let it go loose.
Again, I nodded yes. I had been with girls, as I said, but none really knew what to do. I had never had a blowjob, but obviously she knew what to do
, and I was going to let her lead. I was at her mercy. She took off my shorts and began to suck me,  at the same time lifting off her long t shirt to reveal her naked body to me. I had never seen a woman like that up close. On my mind was that I had no condoms,  so I knew where this was heading and I had to decide whether to fuck her and take that risk or stop when the time came.
Luckily for me,  she made that decision for me. She sucked me until I came and had me suck on her boobs for a short bit, then abruptly got up and left the room. She said nothing as she did that, but she smiled at me. I was pretty much in a stake of shock over the whole thing, but I went with the flow.
Two days passed and we smiled at each other but said nothing about the incident in my room. She had about 6 days left to go before she was heading back home. I still did not know what to do. But being the experienced one,  she did.

I was sleeping and it was very late, about 2am. The tv was still on. I always slept with the tv on.  I always have. As I rolled over I felt a hand on my back. Jocelyn was standing in front of me, completely naked,  with her hands on her breasts. She removed the covers from me and moved my hands onto her breasts. She motioned for me to kiss them, which I did. She was in complete control and I was to do whatever she wanted, and she knew that.
"Mark, I want you to fuck me, right now. I am on the pill,  so we don't need protection."
She didn't have to ask me twice, that is for sure. I had been dreaming of this moment all summer. We began to kiss as she was now on top of me, she leaned back and motioned for me to start licking her.  I had never done that before, but I was willing. She was going to teach me how to be a good lover, and she did exactly that.
As I began to lick her, she guided me and instructed me on how to do that. She was neither shy or in any mood to let me off the hook for being an inexperienced, clumsy lover. As I went along, I learned what she liked and just did that. It was a lesson I learned that day that has served me well over time. After a while, she just pushed me back and told me it was time to fuck her. And I did. We spent most of the night doing that, and I guess she was surprised how long I could last. At 6am we were still going, the sun was about to rise and others were sure to be up soon. She got dressed and left to go back to her room. Outside, Dan was there and he saw her come out of my room. He never said anything about it, but he looked at me differently from that day forward.

 That was our only night together. She made that clear. We weren't going to do that again, and she was going home and we would never have any contact again. And we didn't. I always wondered what happened to her, and I tried to look her up, but have never seen anything in the media to suggest her career went anywhere. I guess she didn't learn enough English that summer to make a difference. I however, learned plenty about the language of love.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Aylmer, Vodka and Little Mikey

Stouffville Flea Market big white barn
Back in University my mother had coaxed me into getting a winter job to earn some extra money while I was in school. Money wasn't tight, but my father had been gone for about two years and the flow was running a bit dry. I was always a hard worker and didn't mind giving up my Sunday's to make 40 bucks. Yes, 40 bucks. It wasn't much, but it was spending money for the week. 

 This meant getting up at 7am and going on Sundays to the Stouffville flea market. Many times it was cold, very cold, although the market was inside, so the day was warm enough once we unloaded the goods to the booth.
Harem Pants

 My mother had a friend, Patricia, whom she played Monday night Mahjong games with. Patricia's husband, Alex, was known to be one of the big shots in the flea market world. He did all the flea markets and had his own brand of sweat pants (harem pants), which were very trendy with women. He also sold his assortment of boots, shoes, shirts, pants and all sorts of other things that were slightly seconds. They were good quality,  but they usually had some slight defect. Such was the nature of the flea market.
So,  off I went one Sunday to the Stouffville flea market. I was to go the first week with Alex and work with his helper, David, who was a bit younger than me. David was about 17,  while I was 23. David lived in Stouffville, just a bit down the street, so he was reliable in that he always showed up, but not responsible enough that he could be left alone to run the show. Being that he lived in Stouffville, he also was not going to drive the truck to and from Toronto. Alex needed someone who could do that, and do that cheap, and would be reliable. I was that guy.
The first week I basically observed and helped.  I had some customer service experience. I had worked at the A&P, Baskin Robbins, Petro-Can gas station and various other menial kids jobs to that point. But I had never worked a job selling anything. I was more service than selling to that point. And this was certainly a different kind of selling than you did at The Bay or Eatons. I learned quickly that whatever price you quoted to the customer, they wanted a deal. It came with the territory. It was the flea market mentality. You learned that right away, and I was a very fast learner. Unloading took forever, but loading back up took almost no time at all. We usually sold more than half the stuff we brought, so loading up meant just packing up the tables and a few leftover goods, mostly different boot sizes that didn't sell that week. The stuff sold itself and most of the day was quiet. It wasn't a lot of money, but it was easy money.

 Wasaga Beach strip, always a great place.

I worked the whole winter until school was finished in May. By that time, there was also a Saturday market as well in Stouffville and I was doing those as well. Saturday was an outdoor market, as was Sunday when the weather got better. That is where the real money was. The crowds were much bigger and so was the profit. There were days in the spring when we would take in more than $10000, whereas a good day in the winter was 800 bucks. However, the pay stayed the same. As June approached, Alex asked me if I wanted to work full time,  7 days a week, doing all the different flea markets that opened up when the weather got better. I said I would,  but the money had to improve. A summer job was the way I could afford to pay for school, and 40 dollars a day was not going to cut it. We settled on 80 a day, plus paid meals,  and that was really good steady money. I made enough that whole summer to pay for all my tuition, books and meals for the whole year. It was long,  hard days,  but it was fun and the money was good. And,  of course,  you met a lot of interesting people, and...a lot of girls. A lot of horny girls. 

We did many flea markets in those days. Saturday and Sunday were still Stouffville, Wednesday was Snellgrove, which was a busy but small market,  more like a carnival than actual market, Thursday was Elmale, which was very near Wasaga Beach,  which was very busy and also great for meeting girls and having a fun time after the market closed,  Friday was variable and we did some others. Monday I don't remember, but Tuesday, well,  Tuesday is the one that I will always remember.

Aylmer, Ontario

Tuesday was the day we did Aylmer. Aylmer was one of the biggest markets, and also one of the farthest. It was two hours drive each way, and we had to get there very early, and stay very late. It was also secluded. Even though this was 1988, the town still seemed stuck in the 1920's. It was farming country and on top of that it was Mennonite country.

 Mennonite driving a horse and buggy.  We saw a lot of that around Aylmer.

 The flea market really was the shopping mall for the area,  and from the morning until night we were very, very busy. It was so busy and profitable that we were allowed to hire local kids to load and unload the truck for us. We just did setup. We had 3 booths at this market, to cover the whole market, and we were always busy. Because it was such a big market, all the regular vendors we saw and knew at the other markets did this one,  so we were very welcome there and felt right at home. At the end of the night, all the vendors would go out for dinner and the owners didn't mind buying, everyone made money. Lots of money. 

 Many nights we ate at Swiss Chalet.
 Things went along smooth for about 6 or 7 weeks. Pretty routine. We would arrive early,  sell all the goods, go get dinner and then share the driving home. By this time I was working with Chris.
Chris was an interesting guy. Good guy. Stand up guy. He was smart, but didn't have any education. He was Alex's right hand man. He was my age, maybe two or three years older and we got along well. The flea markets were Chris's life. He knew every aspect of it and he did it well. Chris was also a very big guy, both in terms of height and weight. Nobody messed with Chris. We never had to worry about anybody getting out of line when we were on the road or at flea markets we didn't know well. Chris had a reputation. You didn't want to mess with him. In a bar fight, he was going to win that bar fight. He never had to prove that as long as I knew him, but you knew he earned that reputation well.
 I did almost all the markets with Chris, unless we had a day where there were two markets in different areas. Then we would split up. Chris also liked to golf, so on our rare days off, or before we had to go to a night market,  we would go golfing together. We became great friends.
Because Stouffville was such a busy market in the spring and summer, we needed extra help. Alex's son Danny helped at times,  but he was a spoiled brat who didn't want to work, and didn't when he could get away with it. Danny had a friend, Little Mikey, who also came. He did work hard and when it came time to do Aylmer, we would bring him with. Mikey was different. He wanted to be cool,  but he wasn't. That would come back to haunt us by the end of the summer.
 The only thing that made Aylmer appealing to me as the weeks went on was a pretty little blond girl who kept making eyes at me. She worked the french fry stand, and we talked every now and then. It was no secret she wanted to go out with me, but she was a local and I was only there once a week. When the summer was gone I would not be there at all. She was also 17 and I was 23, so I thought the better of it, even though I was interested in her. Each week I enjoyed seeing her and getting that attention. After a while, she (Cathy) just faded away, because I was not responding to her advances.
 Towards the end of the summer we had 3 more weeks of Aylmer to go before school started again for me. Chris would continue to do Aylmer, although it was a much smaller market once school started up again. As I said, Aylmer was a Tuesday market, and this one particular week we didn't have a Monday market to do. Being that it was the last major week of the summer, we knew it would be very busy this time. We decided to play golf early Monday morning and then head up to Aylmer and get a hotel the night before. Alex said he would pay for it. It was also little Mikey's 16th birthday, so Chris and I had planned on getting him drunk in the hotel. It was my task to go out and buy a 60 of Vodka,  which I did. To this point I had also never drank any alcohol, as I was never a drinker. Chris was a major drinker, and he could drink 10 beers and they would not phase him. I saw him do that many times. Little Mikey was all excited that he was going to get to drink for the first time, and we had him convinced that some of Cathy's friends were going to be at the hotel, and he would be "getting some". That was a lie, and was never going to happen, and didn't. 
We made our way to Aylmer and arrived around 5pm. We had snacks,  but no real food to mention. Chris ordered a pizza. I didn't,  and have never liked pizza,  so I just ate chips all night. That would come back to haunt me later. Once we settled in the drinking began. Little Mikey was all gung ho to start drinking, but after one drink, he went off to the bathroom and then passed out. So much for that. That left Chris and I. Of course, the rest of that night is very foggy.  

We did have orange juice, but that ran out quickly. Since it was just Chris and me,  we drank the whole 60 by ourselves. Most of that, straight. No water. No orange juice. Straight. And it only took about an hour. We were as intoxicated as you can be. In reality, I was lucky I didn't die that night. I could have poisoned myself to death. I was also eating a lot of potato chips that night. Chris ate the whole pizza by himself. 

A mess, something like this

I don't even remember passing out. I do remember that we did finish the whole 60 and that Little Mikey slept in the bathtub. We were supposed to get up at 5am and be to the market by 6am. That didn't happen.

This is what a 60 of Vodka looks like.

I woke up at 6:30, but Chris and Little Mikey were still wiped out. As I looked around the room,  it was a total disaster,  like something out of a crazy bachelor or house party. Boxes everywhere. Chips everywhere. Glasses everywhere. And we had puked,  everywhere. There was no time to clean it up, and we would have to do that later.  I woke Chris and Little Mikey and we headed out to the truck within 10 minutes. We needed to get to the market,  which was only 10 minutes away, and get set up before Alex arrived. But, we were still totally drunk. 

Except for Little Mikey, who had not drank anything. The problem was, he didn't have a drivers license. He told us he knew how to drive, and I had seen him do that around the parking lot at the markets, so, being that we were still so drunk, we let him.
As we got down the road,  it was clear he didn't know how to drive. It was dangerous. Both Chris and I could drive, but if we got pulled over we would have been in major trouble. Even though it was 8 or 9 hours since we had drank anything, we were both clearly still over the limit. And both of us were not really in good condition to drive. We felt sick, and it was going to be a long day working the market on the busiest day of the year,  with a gigantic hangover. As we got about halfway, Mikey stopped the truck and got out. Chris took the wheel and started driving. Mikey got back in and sat in the middle seat. I started to feel sick. I had never drank any alcohol, not to mention half a 60 of Vodka in one hour. I had to throw up, but I knew I could not do that in the truck. As Chris drove, I opened the truck door and threw up onto the road. Worst 10 minutes of my life.

We arrived at the market. Alex was not there yet, so we found some kids and got them to unload the truck.  We were not really that sick at that point, but we were certainly hungover. It felt like someone was taking a jack hammer and banging it on my head. Chris was used to this and he carried us the rest of the day.
We made it okay until lunchtime and then Alex arrived. He could see we were plastered,  and he just shook his head. I guess he had been there himself, so he knew and just let it go. Little did he know the mess we left in the hotel room.
I went to get some lunch, and I saw Cathy at the fry stand. She just looked at me and laughed. She could see it. Hell,  everyone could see it. Finally, the day was over and we went back to the hotel room to get our stuff and head home. If only it was that easy. The hotel manager was waiting there for us and made it very clear he was going to call the police if we didn't sort that out. The bill for cleaning up the room was 500 bucks,  and we better pay. We put it on Alex's Visa, and we would have to explain that to him later. We made our way home and hit the sack. A very long 24 hours.   
Two weeks later, while cleaning up my room, my mother found the empty 60 of Vodka in my closet and was distraught. She thought I had become an alcoholic. I explained the whole story,  and told her that she needn't worry. That was the last time I was going to drink anything. And other than the odd very light drink,  I have never really drank alcohol since.
After that summer, I never saw Little Mikey again,  and barely saw Chris. The next summer I worked for my Uncle in his factory and didn't go back to the flea markets in the fall. I have never been back to Aylmer, but I will never forget that night. Ever.