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Dancing Days

I picked Jessie up from her parents’ house in my Nova at eight. Sitting with my car running on their driveway trying to keep warm. It was uncommon in December for it to be this cold in Michigan. I could hear the snow crunching under Jessie’s feet as she walked up to the passenger side. Without saying a word she opened the door and got in and I shifted in reverse to pulled out of the driveway.

“I told my parents I wouldn’t be out late,” she finally said to me as I drove down the dark, lonely road. I could tell something was bothering her, but she wouldn’t tell me what. Maybe it was another argument with her parents. I didn’t know. There were times I found it hard to understand what she was thinking. It can be that way with couples.

“Don’t worry, we won’t be out long. I was thinking maybe we’d go out to Rick’s and hang out.”

Rick Lang was a friend of ours who lived with his parents just outside of Jackon’s city limit and a couple of miles from Jessie’s. We both knew him from Mickey D’s, a fast-food restaurant all three of us worked during the summer before I left for college in Ypsilanti. All three of us were part of the fast-food restaurant’s closing crew and used to party after work together. All that summer we’d spend hours sitting in the restaurant’s parking lot late at night drinking wine coolers and smoking the joints Rick would roll. Me and Jessie would sit in front seats of my blue ’79 Chevy Nova messing with the radio while Rick would sit in the back. He would use one of the store’s dining trays to sift the seeds out from the crumbled weed before putting it into the crease of the thin cigarette paper and rolled it into a joint. Jessie would tune in from one station to another until settling on one that was playing a song we all liked.

“Stop there,” I would say when she came to a station playing Led Zeppelin.

“This one? Okay, maybe this one song but only because I like it.” Jessie began singing along with the music as I took a drink from my wine cooler. “I saw a liar standing alone with a tadpole in a jar.”

I burst out laughing and almost spilled my drink. “I saw a lion, not a liar.”

“What?” She stopped singing and looked over at me with irritation.

“It’s lion, not liar. I have the album and it’s got the lyrics.”

“That doesn’t make sense. What would a lion be doing standing with a tadpole in a jar?”

 “And a liar makes more sense?”

She punched me in the arm, and we settled to the jams as we listen to another one of Rick’s stupid jokes.

“What do you call a fake noodle? An im-pasta. What do you call a guy who never farts in public? A private tutor.”

Rick would go on and on like this as he rolled another pausing only to lick the adhesive on the rolling papers to seal it. Jessie would laugh, so would I, and she would tell Lang how lame he was. Rick would just look up with that famous shitty grin of his, pop a freshly rolled joint in his mouth, and light it. They were fun times, and we enjoyed each other’s company as we drank and got high. After a couple of hours, just before the cops made their rounds to our part of town, Lang would crotch-pocket his sandwich bag full of weed and joints and climb out of the car. Before getting into his Ford Ranger Rick would always do this wink and clicking sound with his tongue as he waved goodbye. I think he thought it looked cool when he did it. I just thought he looked like a big dork, but it always seems to make Jessie laugh. Another thing he would do that he thought was cool was knock on my driver’s side window and hand me a joint before he is driving off. Other times, well, he left us with yet another groaner. After he pulled away I’d start the car, went, and dropped Jessie off at her house after a kiss, and I drove home to my parent’s house in town.

None of us had met before working at Mickey D’s because we went to different high schools in town. I went to Denton High in the subdivision on the south side of Jackson while Rick and Jessie went to Jackson High on the city’s west end. They said they had never met before because they hung around with different crowds. High school was like that back then in the eighties. Our whole lives revolved around groups you fitted into. If you were into the sports you were a jock, primps were the rich kids, drug-users were burnouts, book readers with good grades were nerds, project housing kids were slums. You also had your black wearing goths, avant-garde weirdos, and the misfits who didn’t fit anywhere. It was social suicide to ever drift outside your circle. Rick played in both football and basketball teams so he was a jock. He got his dope from the burnouts and that was all right because that was just business. He would share what he toked so that made him cool. Jessie’s dad was a regional distribution manager for one of the automotive associated companies and made enough money to live comfortably in one of the nice homes outside of town. She worked at the fast-food to save up so that when she goes to college she would have spending money. So, Jessie, the primp, would never have known Rick, the jock, even though they went to the same school. My parents were part of the working middle class that lived in one of Jackson’s subdivisions. Dad worked the night shift in a plant that Jessie’s dad managed. In high school, I was a nerd because I read a lot and had been pulling a four-point-o since the sixth grade. Graduation changes all that, at least, it did for some.

Jessie and I had been dating since April and a couple throughout that last summer we were all together. At first, it seemed like we were an odd pair, me being who I was and she, well, her dad was technically my dad’s boss. But after I mustered enough courage to ask her out, and she agreed, we found we liked each other. One date followed another and pretty soon we became a twosome. We did what most couples did back in the eighties. We wasted quarters on video games at the arcade in the mall and go out to the movies at the cinema plex. I had the Nova at the time and some nights we would just cruise around all night going from the mall to Cascade Park and back wasting gas. That summer was the best. Someone always knew somebody who was having a bonfire and kegger and we would go there to party. When we felt like being alone we would park at the Cascades and make out. We were each other’s first and, as such things go, we thought we were in love. Well, at least I did.

Sometimes we would just sit in my car and talk. At Carl’s Liquor Mart I would get someone old enough to buy beer for us and we would drive out to Cascade Park to drink and smoke cigarettes. I would park the car, me in my denim shorts and printed t-shirt, and she in her designer jeans and tank top, and we would sit listening to the music playing on the WRIF radio station. We’d talk about our stupid parents, or how dumb our teachers were, and of how shitty friends can be. She had feathered her hair for her graduation pictures and had been playing around applying more makeup to make herself look more mature. The eye shadow she wore brought out her blue eyes which, framed as they were by her dark, curly hair, made them look beautiful. Sometimes we sat there in silence, and I would just look at her. She would turn and look at me and say something like, “What are you looking at?” I would answer, “You”. We would laugh, fall into each other’s arms and kiss. It was one of those warm summer nights when we talked about leaving town for college. 

“When are you leaving for Ypsilanti,” she asked as she lit her cigarette using the car’s lighter.

“The last week in August,” I answered as I took the lighter to light my own. “And you?”

“I don’t have to be there until after Labor Day.”

I was going to Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti to study teaching. Jessie had been accepted at Grand Valley State in the west part of the state on a fine arts scholarship.

She took a puff from her cigarette. “Are you going to call me when I get there?”

“You know I will.”

 We had talked often about how hard it would be to stay together. We figured that we would stay in touch by calling each other every week, every day if we could and that we would see each other during the holidays.

“Could you, maybe, drive out to visit?”

‘I don’t know, Jessie, Allendale is pretty far.”

At this point, she would start crying and say how alone she was going to be and how she was going to miss everyone. Looking at her like this made me feel like a real jerk. I still loved her and knew I would continue to do so even if we were on the opposite side of the state. I felt helpless and did the only thing I could think to do; I reached out and cradled her in my arms. I still remember the smell of her perfume as I would rest my chin on the back of her neck.

August came, we continued to do what we had done all summer until it was time to say goodbye. Jessie and I made love one last time at the Cascades before going out to Rick’s for a bonfire party. When we had arrived the party was going full blast with the music playing, everyone drinks, and having a good time. Led Zeppelin’s ‘Dancing Days’ from their ‘House of the Holies’ was blaring in the background. We got our cups of beer from the keg and sat in a couple of lawn chairs by the fire pit. There were lots of people there, some we knew and others we didn’t and we sat alone. This was an all-in-one graduation and going away party for Rick. The Langs were pretty cool in that they didn’t mind if you weren’t old enough to drink. They also didn’t mind us smoking pot as long as Dave didn’t make it so obvious.

I remember spending most of the time asking Jessie if there was anything wrong. She would stare at the fire pit and say nothing as she drank her beer. Lang would occasionally pop in on us and do this “wink, wink, nudge, nudge” thing as he pointed to his parent’s house. We’d catch on followed him to the house and then the basement where he would pull a joint out of his pocket, light it, and we’d catch a buzz. After the joint was gone the three of us would go back to the party and grab some of the food that Rick’s mom had laid out. Again Jessie and I sat down by the fire but this time she seemed to be in a better mood. By now Jessie was laughing and looked like she was beginning to enjoy herself. At three in the morning, things started to wind down and everyone was leaving. Jessie and I said our goodbyes, got into my car, and left. Again she went into her solemn mood and remained silent the entire way to her house. I dropped her off after we kiss, and I drove home. Two days later I left for Eastern.

It was in the same basement from the bonfire party five months ago that Rick led us down to when we arrived at his house. As we climbed down the stairs I noticed things had changed. Gone were the boxes of old toys, books, and picture frames. In their place was a raggedy old couch, a bed, and an old nineteen-inch television. Concert posters of Zeppelin and Pink Floyd covered one side of the walls and on another was a giant velour, neon green painting of a marijuana leaf. A lava lamp sat on a small table in one corner giving the room an eerie glow. It was apparent that Lang had moved out of his room upstairs and was now living in the basement. Rick pulled out a chair from under an old desk and sat in it. He then took a rolling tray, a Mickey D’s dining tray he must have stolen, and began sifting through the pot as he had always done before. Jessie and I sat next to each other on the couch as we watched him in silence. We still hadn’t said much to each other since leaving her house. Rick was the first one to speak.


“So, what’s shaken, bacon?” he said as he pinched some of the pot to put on the cigarette paper.

Thinking he was talking to me I answer, “Not much. What’s new with you, gnu?”

Rick licked the joint to seal it and smiled as I’ve always seen him do hundreds of times.

“Not much over here, partner. You know, same thing, different day. I’m working for my dad now. Business at the dealership is picking up and he said if sales continue to look good he might need another salesman. That might be me if I play my cards right.” Rick’s dad owns Lang’s Used and New Ford Auto Dealership in Concord. He did pretty brisk business. The news caught me by surprise. The last time I talked to Rick he was enrolled at Western State University.

“What happened to Western? I thought you were going there?”

“Nah, change of plans. Got a job with my dad. Making good money working at the dealership running around making coffee and picking up things. Did you check out my sweet ride outside?” I had noticed the used Mustang parked in the driveway. “Dad got me a deal on it.” He lit the joint and passed it to me.

I took a quick hit and passed it to Jessie. She waved it off not wanting any and I passed it back to Rick. I didn’t want to say anything, didn’t want to start anything, but the silent treatment was really getting on my nerves. Rick took another hit and I looked over at Jessie with a pleading expression on my face.

“I don’t feel like it, okay?” she responded angrily not looking at me.

“Okay. Okay. But what’s the matter?”

“Nothing.”

Rick and I took turns from the joint a few more times before it was gone. Whatever was going on was driving with Jessie was making me nuts. I was high from the pot, frustrated, and I couldn’t take it anymore. Something had changed between us and I couldn’t figure out what. Jessie and I started pretty well after we both left for college. We called each other every day when we first arrived from the phones in our dorms, me from Eastern and she at Grand Valley. But soon it became every other day and then once a week as classes started and the expense of calling made it difficult. There were a couple of times she missed my calls. She was out and I left messages with her roommate. I thought she was studying or making friends, joining a sorority, or something. I didn’t expect her to be waiting in her dorm room for my phone calls. But there were times I just wished she would call me back. Then there was Thanksgiving and she said she wasn’t coming home. Yes, I was upset, but I didn’t hold that against her. She told me finals were coming up and I told her I understood. But this? The cold shoulder? What was going on?

Rick sat and watched the exchange between us, sifting and rolling, sifting, and rolling until the entire bag of pot was rolled.

“We got two weeks before we have to go back! Is this how it’s going be?” I said as I got up from the couch out of frustration.

“I’m not going back! I’m pregnant!”

Rick sat with his head down looking at the tray full of joints. I stood there in silence.

“What? Pregnant? How?”

She looked up at me from the couch with angry tears before she said, “You know how. How does anyone get pregnant?”

“You know what I mean.”

“Yeah, I know what you mean. How? How? HOW? NOT WITH YOU! Is that what you want to hear? It’s not with you! Three months! There, you know now!”

I lost my buzz as the floor from under my feet gave out. The last time Julie and I had sex was before we both left for college. Unless she was lying to me that would mean she got pregnant in September. I looked to see if she is showing. I couldn’t see the bump she may have been hiding under her coat.

“Yeah, it’s there, dumb ass! I missed my period a couple of months ago and took the test. I’m pregnant. You happy now!”

I don’t know why but I started to apologize. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” I repeated over and over as I sat down on the couch my head between my knees.

“And YOU! You’re not going to say ANYTHING?!”

I looked up as her rage was focused on Rick. Why Rick? Then it hit me.

“Yeah, college guy, Rick is the father.”

Rick wouldn’t look up at us least of all me. He stared at the joints rolled on the tray in silence. Jessie got up and crossed the room. In her tear-filled anger, she smacked Rick several times on the shoulder. Rick closed his eyes and took it hunched over the tray of the pot.

“I hate you! I hate both of you! You!” she said pointing at me. “You said you would never leave me! But you went and I was alone. You left me!”
“I called,” I retorted back in anger. “But sometimes you didn’t call me back!”

“So what did you do when I did? You acted like everything was okay. You didn’t ask where I was. You didn’t even ask if I was alright? It’s like, like you didn’t care. YOU DIDN’T CARE!”

“But I did care! I do care!”

“Then, why didn’t you come and see me? Because it was too far away. Yeah, that’s your answer, isn’t it? Isn’t it? Well, Rick drove up to see me. I called him and he came but you didn’t. You wouldn’t come to see me, and I felt so alone, and he came but you didn’t. Rick came to visit me three times and not once did you ever think of driving up to see if I was okay. Not once!”

I didn’t know what to say. She was right. Not once did it ever occurred to me to ask if everything was fine. I once thought about driving across the state to surprise her but talked myself out of it thinking, as she said because it was too far away. Now I thought it may not have been a good idea because of what I might have found. Rick with my girlfriend.

I got up, walked up the stairs, and left the house slamming the screen door behind me.

It had just started to snow as I made for my car. It was that fluffy stuff that came down like little balls of cotton. The air was cold, and it was silent. The countryside was so quiet you could hear the interstate a couple of miles away. I fumbled through my pockets for my keys, but they had gotten stuck in the loose threads of the lining of my coat pocket. When they finally came out I dropped them into the loose snow, and I had to dig them out with my hands. When I found them I put them into the keyhole, turned them to unlock the door, and climbed in. I sat in the driver’s seat staring out at the screen door as it swayed unlatched in the wind. I hadn’t noticed that Lang had followed me on the way out until he rapped on my passenger side window. Startled from my inner thoughts I looked over before reaching the handle to the passenger side window. I rolled it down a crack, just enough to see Rick’s breathe blowing through it.

 “You okay, dude?”

“Yeah, I guess I’m okay. How’s Jessie?”

“You know, crying, angry.” He shrugged. “You are coming back in?”

“Nah, I think it’ll be better if I just go home.” I was still angry at Rick, the both of them. But mostly I was angry with myself for being so stupid.

“I hear-ya. I’ll take Jessie home.”

“Could you? Thanks.” It sounded lame after I said it. Of course, he would take her home. I was the last person Jessie wanted to see right now.

A long minute passed before Rick said, “I guess I should go back in.”

“Yeah, you should.”

I started the car as I watched Rick make it back to the house.

I didn’t talk to either one of them for the rest of the two-week Christmas break. I spent my Christmas with my family trying not to think of what had happened that evening. Once I thought I’d give Jessie a call, to see if she was okay and if she needed anything. But I thought the better of it. I even thought about visiting her house. You know, drive up, knock on her door. She would answer, give me a big hug as if things were okay, and we would laugh about it. I even entertained the idea of marrying her if Rick wouldn’t do the right thing. That was all a dream. I never drove by her house ever again. When Christmas break was over, I said my goodbyes to my parents and drove back to college.

I haven’t spoken to either one of them since that night forty years ago. Never heard from either of them or what eventually happened. Did she have the baby? Did Rick and Jessie get married? I don’t know. What about the child? They are all grown up now and maybe with teenagers of their own. There are times when I sit at my desk typing, times like this when I hear Led Zeppelin’s ‘Dancing Days’ playing on a web station, and I remember that last summer when we were together.

-A. M. Holmes

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Defining Science Fiction.

I just listened to an intriguing podcast on Science Fiction with Damien Walter where he tries to answer, ‘What is Science Fiction?’ (https://damiengwalter.com/2021/07/20/what-is-science-fiction/). In it, Walter brings up what he calls the three fallacies concerning science fiction. He says science fiction is not a genre as it is more like an artistic movement, it is not just “speculative fiction”, and not entertainment. I agree with what he said about two of these fallacies and slightly disagree with him on one.

First, what I agree with. Having viewed and read science fiction since I was a small child I have been inspired to write science fiction stories. For most of my life, I’ve done this as a hobby, something I did as a form of expression, to tell stories to myself. Now, encouraged by my wife’s publications, I wish to take this hobby and turn it into something that I can share with others. One of my wife’s questions, she writes epic fantasies, was what specific subgenre I was writing in. Well, I never considered that because to me science fiction is just that, and to break it down to a subgenre, or a sub-sub-genre seemed to me to be a ludicrous idea. Why would I want to pigeonhole myself into a specific slot and limit my creativity? Why does a story need to be limited to a specific arbitrary group when it can be more than that? “Who’s your target audience?” she answered. So the idea is a marketing tool and not a real literary definition. I agree with Damien Walter in that science fiction, with its crossover into many media forms and influence is more of an artistic movement no different than, say, post-modernism. It is only defined into its narrow literary definition of “genre” and all its “subs” to make it easier for the people who market it. So, the difficulty in defining it comes from it not being a specific product.

Is science fiction speculative fiction? Yes, it can be. But is it speculation? Not necessarily so. If you take science fiction out of being a genre you can do so much more with it along other avenues of thought. Rod Serling’s ‘The Twilight Zone’ did this in many of their stories. It wasn’t always about the “if this now, this is where we’ll end up” but at times about “here we are, now take a good close look at it”. Science fiction is storytelling with one foot in reality and the other in fantasy. It is the combination of the imaginative and the rational into one narrative. Technology, physical phenomenon (e.g. time travel, black holes, etc.), and non-human encounters are aspects of the setting unless they are the protagonist/antagonist of the story. They do not define science fiction but are part of the framework. I think Damien Walter’s explanation of science fiction as the melding of the “Mythos/Logos” is very much true. It is storytelling using the abstract notion of creativity with the rationality of realism. It is a form of expression distinctly unique as in any other artistic movement, for a movement it is.

Is it entertainment? Now, here is where he and I disagree. The reason I want to be a published writer is not that I want fame or notoriety, or to make a butt-load of money but to tell a good story. Storytelling is one of the oldest endeavors that first evolved in humankind. Our ancestors told stories around the campfire to educate and, depending on the manner it was told, to entertain. You can make the daily hunt more interesting if you tell it in a certain way. Storytelling is entertainment and science fiction is or should be, about the story.

-A.M. Holmes

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“How do you create a book or characters that people will love?”

Someone on one of the social media creative writing groups I belong to posted, “Why in the world would anyone like Harry Potter? …How do you create a book or characters that people will love?”

It’s all about hard work, timing, and the fickle predilections of a fad. You can be a good writer with a good idea and never succeed because it just isn’t what the readership is looking for at the time. You can also be a good writer with a good idea that resonates with readers that, with their favorable reviews, may engage others, and your works become a hit.

J. K. Rowling’s success wasn’t overnight, it took years of effort to finally make it. Rowling worked on Harry Potter for five years, getting feedback, rewriting, more feedback, more rewriting, until she got something she was happy with. It still wasn’t easy, she had to get it published. When publishers refused to read it unless she got an agent she got one. Even after that, she was rejected by 12 publishers until one decided to print. Then came promoting it. Fortunately for ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ it connected with young people through its protagonist. The character of Harry resonated with adolescents through fantasy and plain good storytelling in a way they understood. The more the word spread about this book, the more excitement was generated about it, the more books flew off the shelves in sales. J. K. Rowling had a hit in little time after publishing, but also, after 7 long years of hard work. It could have just as easily, as many have learned on their own, never have amounted to anything. It could have ended up in the “Bargain Book” section after its first edition. There’s no way to predict what the public wants.

But there are ways to improve your chances by,

1. Make a good product (yeah, unless you’re doing this for fun, or obscurity, your book is a product). Edit, edit, EDIT! NOTHING IS SACRED! You, your family, and your friends may think your work is a masterpiece as is but unless they plan to purchase every single book published it’s the general public you have to convince (people can distinguish between something readable from crap).

2. Try to be original, fresh. If there are too many books about zombies, and you like writing about zombies, how can you make your “zombie story” different? (Or, here’s an idea, give up writing on zombies and find something different.)

3. Learn to promote your product (GET THE WORD OUT! People aren’t going to randomly flock to you just because YOU think YOU’RE great).

4. DON’T GIVE UP! The one thing that is common among successful writers is that THEY DIDN’T GIVE UP. QUITTERS NEVER WIN!

So, do you think you have the next “Best Selling” phenomenon? I know I hope I do with my work in progress. The difference may be all in the effort we put in and what readers are looking for.

-A. M. Holmes

Past, Present, and Future

The future is the undetermined existence, space/time in a flux. The present is the coelising of the future into a fix point becoming the now. The past is those fixed elements existing as would a string within a tapestry. To pick the future is to fix it and so make it the present. To choose the past is to live within it like an insect trapped in amber. I would choose the present, because only there am I the master of both the future and the past.

-A. M. Holmes

Just A Few Things About Me

Me, early in the morning working on my wip.

This started out as a prompt on another platform (IG) that got a little out of hand and I liked it so much I decided to use it as my “About Me”. I’m posting as a blog as well because, okay, it’s the Fourth of July, hot, and lazy. I’m also trying to get back into the “writing mood” which is why I answered the prompt in the first place. Anyway, this is who I am.

I’m currently working on my first novel, ‘White Noise: A CDI Rachel Durran Story’, (a tech-noir set in the near future) and hope to finish it by the end of the year. Occasionally I will post excerpts and your comments will be greatly appreciated. When I’m not doing that, I will post some of my other works and ideas.

I’m a science geek (biology, astronomy, geology, paleontology, anthropology, and physics to name a few of my interest), writer (I have a wip), sometime editor (I can help if you ask), and a BIG science fiction and fantasy aficionado (‘Star Wars, ‘Star Trek’, ‘Doctor Who’, ‘Battlestar Galactica’, LOTR, Harry Potter, just to touch on the most popular. I know quite a bit about a lot of obscured stuff and if I hadn’t read it, watched it, or heard of it you can believe I will read, watch, and become familiar with it). I have ASD (Autism spectrum disorder, Asperger’s to be specific) but I’m not “autistic” (I will not be defined by my disorder!) I’m also an immigrant from Mexico (I was 6 years-old when I came to the U.S.) and became an American citizen when I turned 18. English is my first language and I love it (to me there is no other language that can do what English does. You can describe anything in numerous ways. You can take a noun and make it a verb or an adjective. If it isn’t proper wait long enough and it will be. English is a TRUE LIVING LANGUAGE!) But mostly, I love pondering the idiosyncrasies of a Life On a Small Blue World. 🌎🌊🧩

I look for people with diverse interests and who are open minded. I seek ideas and thoughts and people who are willing to express themselves and be themselves. I don’t like anyone who tries to sell me something or pass “copy and paste” chain postings or messages.  If you want to spew hate and bigotry YOU WILL BE BLOCKED! If you try to convince me that you are a lonely, nubile, 18 to 20-something from a 3rd world country looking for love and older men, I’m happily married to a wonderful woman and even if I were to remotely believe you I still wouldn’t be interested. DIRECT MESSAGE ONLY IF YOU HAVE SOMETHING INTELLIGENT TO SAY OTHERWISE SHUT-UP, DON’T BOTHER ME, AND MOVE ON!

Otherwise, welcome, Friend.

-A. M. Holmes

Why I Want To Become a Writer.

Sounds like a silly thing an adult to write about. You would imagine that this sort of a subject belongs in some sixth grade English class. But after reading some of the comments in writing groups on social media I find a lot of people don’t have a clue why they want to write. Some said it is because they can’t find a story interesting enough so they think they can come up with one of their own that is better. Others think it is an easy way to fame and fortune and good marketing. And then, there are the ones who think, “Well, gosh, I have a really good story and people will think so too”.

I have to admit I fall into that last group. But, even though I’m a realist, I still believe people will enjoy what I create. Why?

Because storytelling is part of what makes us human beings. It’s in our nature and has been part of us since the time we gathered around the fire back in our hunter-gatherer days. Some of us like it and get better at it than others. For example, I see a pile of snow after a snowplow had come through and I imagine mountains and a valley and the people who live there. I see a forest and imagine what forest would be like on other worlds, what creatures live within it, who would visit it and why? I see the advancements in science and I imagine not a dystopian, post-apocalyptic world but one open to numerous, promising possibilities. Most of all, I see a good story and I imagine what it would be like to share it with an interested audience.

That is why I want to be a writer, to find my audience, to tell stories, and if on the way I become wealthy and famous, well…

Eugene

When does childhood end? For these boys, it happened one day too tragically quick.

We walked across on the I-94 overpass to get to the woodlands on the other side of the highway that’s been our hang out through the summer. There among the maples, oaks, and hawthorns, within the tall prairie grasses and goldenrods, we explored the thick jungle of the Amazon, fought the Japanese in Borneo, and time traveled to face the terrible T-rex.  When we brought them, we rode our bikes through the well-worn trails and made new ones on foot where the undergrowth was not as thick. It was our place and for that last summer before we started Wessex Senior High School in 1979 it was our world.

Most of the time it would be me, Will Sharp and Justin Wicks out in the woods. Sometimes Will’s sister, “Junebug”, June, would tag along. Justin didn’t like it but the rest of us thought she was cool, for a girl, that is. We didn’t even really think of her as a girl most of the time. She was short and skinny and looked more like a boy with her short blond bob and bibbed coveralls. Acted like one most of the time. She would be right in there whenever we crawled among the thick tall prairie grasses or up in the tree branches of the forest whenever we climbed. She was also a soldier to our generals, our porter through the bushvelds of Africa, or played any other part nobody wanted. One time, Will suggested she should be the damsel in distress so that we, as the Knights of the Round Table, could rescue her. She almost gave him a bloodied nose.

Justin was the leader of our little group mostly because he was the tallest and he had a way of coming up with great ideas. He’s the one that came up with getting some old plywood boards and cinder blocks and make a ramp for our bikes. Another time he brought over some empty jars and we went to the pond at Elwell Park and caught tadpoles. There was the ‘Battle of Snow Mountain’ when we tried knocking each other off the piles made by the snow plows. He was the idea man whenever we couldn’t think of much of anything to do. Sometimes he acted as though he was annoyed by Junebug. But, then again, he always took her side whenever we all got into an argument. Yeah, we teased him but isn’t that what older brothers are supposed to do? Besides, our fights never lasted too long, and soon we were off doing something else Justin would come up with.

Now, Will, he was our Joker. If there was a joke or a funny story, no matter how stale it was, the way he would tell it always made us laugh. He was good at playing tricks on people too! One time, in the sixth grade just before 3rd-hour Civics class, he put a tack on Fatty Patty McKenney’s chair. We’ve never seen anyone jump so fast out of their seat the way Fatty Patty did when she sat down. Then there was the time Will brought the dissected rat from biology class into Mister Hutchinson’s math class. Mister Hutchinson always had the habit of reaching into his desk drawer for a clean sheet of paper at the beginning of class. On that day, though, something else awaited him when he opened it. The riot of laughter that occurred more than made up for the week’s detention Will got for hiding the dead rat in there.

As for me, well, I was the brains, the facts guy, on account I read a lot of books. Whenever we needed to decide whether something was possible, like if we could evade a T-rex by hiding in the bushes (we could, they were tall and had bad eyesight), or land a rocket ship on the surface of Jupiter (not likely, clouds too thick, too icy, and gravity made it difficult to move), or kill a knight in shining armor with a pistol (ever shot a tin can with a BB gun?) I usually would have an answer. Is a bee a bee or wasp or fly? I knew the difference. Which way was north? Which direction is the sun moving during the day or look for the North Star at night (I knew where to look!)? If I didn’t know or wasn’t sure, I usually tried to make it sound good. Sometimes Will or Justin would catch me at something that sounded dubious but most of the time they never questioned my authority. Martin St. Martin, the bookworm, the nerd. Other kids thought I was a little weird because of how I would bury my face in some book. I didn’t care, well, most of the time. I have liked reading since I first learned how to and I wasn’t going to give it up because someone thought it was strange. Besides,  in a way, we were all nerds in our own way, outcast, in the sense that none of us in our group were really good at sports, never got to hang out with the cool kids, or even could win a fist fight if our lives depended on it. Heck, Junebug could probably take any of us in a fight and win! Including her brother!

There was also Eugene Ward. Not “Gene”, as he often corrected us, not “Ward”, or “Wart” as some of the popular kids would call him, but Eugene. It wasn’t that we didn’t like Eugene it was more like he was a little whiney and just too weird even for us for his own good. If we were playing army men he would point up at the sky and start shooting at pterodactyls. When we were cowboys fighting back marauding Indians, he would blast them with a laser gun. When we would argue with him that that was cheating not staying dead when he got shot, he would get angry and pout if he didn’t get his way. He had this curious way of showing anger. Eugene would stand with his fist clenched, eyes bulging, his face all beet red, and grunt. The first time he did it we all laughed. Will said he looked like he was holding a crap. That made us all laugh some more and Eugene would get even angrier. We learned that if we just ignored him he would stop and act as if nothing had happened. No, it wasn’t that we didn’t like him, because he was like us, an outcast, it was that he did would make it hard for us sometimes to like him. But that was Eugene and we knew we could change him.

 Junebug would feel sorry for Eugene sometimes and would get mad at us for making fun of him. It stayed that way up until when Eugene pressed his luck once too often and Junebug just gave up on him too. It was the day he was telling us how to “properly build a fort” out of plywood and canvas we had found and we told him he was full of crap. He went through his “grunt thing” and instead of ignoring him we started to laugh and imitated him. Junebug stepped in like she always did in Eugene’s defense and then Will started making fun of her by making “kissy noises” and calling her his girlfriend. But that didn’t make Junebug as angry as when her brother joined in. That really made her mad. I guess it embarrassed Eugene as well because of what he did next. Instead of helping his only defender he turned on Junebug by calling her a “little wussie girl”. If there was something Junebug was not it was a “wussie girl”. None of us ever had the guts to call her something like that and knew Eugene had step over the line. Junebug got all squinty-eyed and quiet all the while she raising her fist. We stopped laughing, all of us that is, except for dumb Eugene who didn’t know any better. He just kept going on and on, prancing around, hand on hip, about how Junebug was a wussie girl. Just as we thought she was going to deck him one she let out a deep sigh, turned her back to us, and walked away calling us all “a bunch of weenie-eyed jerks”. Eugene was still laughing at her, that is until I bopped him one on the back of his head. He asked what that was for, but I didn’t think it was worth the effort explaining it to him. Junebug hung out with us less and less after that.

 Another thing about Eugene was that he wasn’t “a little kid” although he acted like one. He was our age, bigger than any of us in both height and weight. He was just shy of Justin’s height and fat enough to maybe suck the wind out of you if he ever sat on you. I know that for a fact because one time when we were wrestling he nearly suffocated me when he held me down by straddling my chest. It took Junebug, Justin, and Will to get him off me when I started to complain about not being able to breathe. He also wore thick glasses and smelled like mothballs. Will and me, well, we figured he was the way he was because his home life kind of sucked.

You see, his dad was an alderman or something at the Wessex Episcopalian Church of the Divine Light and was strict about everything. Eugene couldn’t do anything at home other than pray for forgiveness of any sin he may have done, is doing, or maybe thinking of doing. If it was determined he had done something wrong, and usually he was judged to have done so, his punishment would be a stiff belt across his hiney followed by a recitation of a Bible verse while he was on his knees. Now we’ve all taken the belt from time to time, but we thought the bible thing was a bit too much. I guess that’s the real reason we put up with him so much. We just felt sorry for him. We also felt a little guilty for it was our idea to take him out to the woods. We knew that if his dad ever found out where Eugene really went we were sure his dad would kill him. We just couldn’t let that happen without feeling bad about it. Then there was his bike.

It was a Huffy All-Pro reflex blue 3-speed that was a present from an uncle and it was his most prized possession. It had a blue and white banana seat and wing back handlebars with chrome fenders and a 3-speed shifter on the mid-frame. When you sat on it and peddled, it felt great having the wind rushed past you. It was like riding one of those “hog motorbikes”, Eugene liked calling it his “hog”, down the road. This thing was beautiful and fast! We called it the Blue Streak on account of how it would go when we rode it down steep hill trails. Eugene had a hard time taking it uphill so we would talk him into letting us ride it up for him on the condition that he would let us ride it down. Of course, once down another one of us would volunteer to ride it back up and then down we’d go. All of us, including Junebug, would take turns except for Eugene. One time we let Eugene take it down and he almost wrecked into a tree! After that, he was happy just watching us ride it. It made Eugene’s constant whining almost tolerable. He took that bike everywhere.

Like I said earlier, we had walked out to the forest as we had done since school let out when something happened that would make this our last time there. This summer had been a bit different because we were all going to start high school in September and we were beginning to feel a little bit silly playing army men and stuff like that. Even Justin was having a hard time thinking of things for us to do. We knew we were teenagers now and past play little kid’s games. We spent our time now out there doing nothing. Most of the time we just hung out and talk about things like tv shows, music on the radio, and whether Christy Miller’s boobs were real, and if they could get any bigger. That last part was Will’s contribution to our conversations. It seemed to have all started when he found his dad’s Playboys hidden in his family’s garage. Eugene didn’t like it when Will would start talking about reaching under Christy’s bra or looking up Stephanie Brower’s shorts. Will once told us he saw Stephanie’s “bush” peeking out from under her underwear one time. Justin and I said he was crazy and asked him to describe it. He made like he was trying to remember it but all he could come up with was, “you know, it looked like bush”. We laughed, except for Eugene who didn’t seem to have gotten the joke. I didn’t care if Will talked about girls like this as long as it wasn’t about Rachel Drake. But then, whenever he did bring up Rachel it was only to give me a hard time! You see, the eighth grade was the year when Will found out about my crush on Rachel.

It was in the middle of Mister Hutchinson 5th hour when the class, ever bored of geometry lessons, started passing notes. These notes usually had gossip, or doodles, or something like that. On some occasions, they included a questionnaire of like, “Who do you think has the worst bad breath?”, “Who is the biggest faggot”, stupid things like that. The one I got that day was, “Who would you like to go out with?” For the life of me, and I don’t why, I wrote Rachel Drake’s name. I then thought about how stupid it was for me to have written that and crumpled the note right away. On my way out I threw it in the trash and thought nothing more about it. Unknown to me at the time, Will had fished out the note and soon it was spread around that I had a crush on Rachel. By the end of the semester, everyone in our school knew about it, including, to my mortification, and hers, Rachel Drake. In the last days of junior high, she went out of her way to let me know that my feelings for her were not mutual. All this talk made Eugene uncomfortable and when he would try to change the subject Will would call him a “homo” and shut him up.

It was on one of those hot days in August of ’79 when we got to the familiar break in the fence that led to our spot in the woods that something happened we thought we would never forget. We didn’t really feel like pulling our bikes through the prickly bushes so we left them behind. As always, though, Eugene had to ride his and when we got to the opening in the fence he was complaining about how nobody was helping him get his bike through.  Will, Justin, and I refused to help and told him to leave it behind. Eugene got halfway in, managing to get himself and his bike stuck before he decided to take our advice hid the bike behind a tree that grew by the fence. After making sure it was well hidden he followed us.

We had gone down the trail close to where our “camp” was when Justin suddenly stopped and whispered to us to be quiet. I was by now was getting tired of Eugene’s complaining about his bike, and was about to say something when I heard what Justin was listening to.

“Shhhh. Voices,” I said in my lowest whisper.

“Eugene, you know-” Will never got to finish because he heard the voices too. Justin and I both recognized who was talking and the trouble we were in.

“It’s Dean and Jamie, ain’t it?” I whispered.

“Yeah,” answered Justin and he would know.

Dean and Jeremy Sherman were a couple of high school boys who made a habit of hanging out outside of Jefferson Taylor Junior High whenever they skipped classes which was pretty much all of the time. The brothers were well-known troublemakers to us kids and we learned early to keep away from them if at all possible.  For fun, the Sherman boys would single out one of the kids going home, follow them for a couple of blocks,  and when they were sure no adults were around they would jump out and beat the crap out of them. On the last day of school, they got Justin. Justin was only a few blocks from his house when they jumped him and gave him a bloodied nose. Will and I stood there and did nothing because we didn’t want to be next. Later, I thought  Justin got off easy because only the week before the Shermans had broken a kid’s arm. No one ever said anything or did anything about them because they knew what would happen to them if the Shermans found out. Now here they were at our campsite in the woods and we were scared crapless.

I was about to suggest that we go back when Justin held a finger to his lips and pointed to the thick brush to our left. Maybe he thought if we tried to run we’d make too much noise and they’d catch us? Or maybe he thought since we were already here we might as well see what they’re up to? Either way, we followed Justin and hid among the tall grass and Sumacs. Crouching low where they couldn’t see us we could see the two boys a few feet away in the clearing that was shaded by a big gnarly oak tree.

Jeremy had his back up against the tree while Dean paced back and forth like an agitated caged cat puffing away at his cigarette. Jeremy looked bored and sleepy eye as he stared at his brother wear a groove into the dusty ground. Dean seemed tensed and wounded up like he was ready to hit someone.

“So, where is he?” Dean finally said stopping for a moment before continuing his pacing.

“Dunno,” answered Jeremy.

“You think Marcus believes he’s a narc?”

“I dunno, man. That’s what you told ‘em. Unless you was wrong. In that case, I wouldn’t like to be you if Marcus found out.”

I didn’t know who Marcus was but because of the way Jeremy was talking about him, they were both scared of him. The Sherman boys were actually scared of someone! Marcus didn’t sound like someone I wanted to know. Same with the “narc” they were talking about. I didn’t want to know any of it. I wanted nothing to do with any of this. I just wanted to go home at this point. But Justin wanted to stay. To this day I’ll never understand why? 

“You know damn well what Bruce said.” Dean halted again and stared up with his eyes closed thinking hard to remember. “Bruce said a couple of weeks ago he saw Sam talking to the pigs over at Vernor’s Ice-Cream shop. He said that when he came out of Carl’s, you know, to buy cigarettes Sam saw him and Sam got all nervous. Then that weekend the pigs raided Harvey’s place and found that pound of weed. Bruce said he’s sure it had to be Sam.”

“Bruce said, Bruce said. How’d we know Bruce didn’t make this shit up?”

“Okay, we don’t. But someone had to let Marcus know.”

 “Yeah, and that had to be you, dumb-ass. You had to be the one to go babbling to Marcus and now we’re here.”

Dean had started up his pacing and puffing when he came to a stop yet again in front of his brother.

“Look, man, if he ain’t showin, let’s split and we’ll tell Marcus he didn’t show.”

“You tell Marcus. I ain’t saying shit.”

“Yeah, but you’re the one who told Marcus we’d take care of it.”

Jeremy sprung off the tree and with both hands grabbed Dean’s shirt. “Only after you got Marcus all riled up! The motherfucker was spitting nails! What else was I going to say? So, we stay because I say we stay! Got it?”

Dean pushed back and looked like he was about to hit Jeremy when he stopped because something had drawn their attention.

“You heard that! I think I heard something,” said Dean as he jerked away. Jeremy nodded as he heard it too.

We all froze. We were too afraid to breathe. I even was too afraid to do anything about whatever was tickling me inside my pant leg. I thought we were all dead. I didn’t know how did they could know we were here, but they had to, right? We had all been so careful so what went wrong? I was even thinking that maybe the Sherman boy smelled mothball Eugene. But, to our relief, a lean black man popped out of the trail on the opposite side of the clearing.

“What’s happening, homies?” the black man said.

“What-up, Sam?” Jamie said in what I knew was a deceitful way. He walked up to Sam and did that street handshake we boys had seen black people do. It all looked kind of weird to me. Why was Jamie acting all friendly when just a few moments ago he and his brother were talking about having to “take care of Sam”. I had a bad feeling that it wasn’t going to be good for this Sam guy.

“Hey, Dean,” Sam said looking at Dean with a big grin.

“Hey, yourself, Sam,” said Dean looking away from him as he inched closer to the big oak tree.

There was a moment of awkwardness when nobody said anything. If Sam had any idea that something was wrong he hid it well behind that smile of his. Dean was at the tree by now looking at the folded over dead grass. Jeremy continued to stand there with a goofy grin looking first at Dean and then at Sam without saying a word. Dean dropped the cigarette that he had let burnt down to the filter and ground it into the dirt. I saw nervousness in his eyes as he waited for something from Jeremy.

Finally, Sam broke the silence. “What can I do for you gents? You aiming to score something from Ol’ Sammy? Or maybe sell? I can make you a good deal like I did for you the last time. Maybe we can do a trade? If you can get me more of those rims you got the last time we can talk.”

“How about this instead!” said Jeremy just before he cold-cocked Sam knocking him down to the ground.

I guess it was what Dean was waiting for because in what seemed like in a flash he came up with the aluminum bat he must have hidden in the grass and started to give the downed black man several blows to the head and chest. Jeremy had started to kick Sam with his steel-toed biker boots to his midsection. Dean switched over to hitting Sam on the legs with his bat. The downed man tried uselessly to protect himself. Using his bloodied hands he tried uselessly to block the blows to his head. Sam rolled first one way and then the other using his legs to kick at the boys. This must have angered Jeremy for he put a quick end to it with one fierce kick to Sam’s groin.  At first, Sam protests were coming as loud screams, pleading to the boys to stop, but slowly the yells turned into pathetic whimpers, and then soft moans. I felt every blow from the kicks, every thud as the bat came down. My stomach turned as I felt my lunch coming up. I looked over to Will and saw he had closed his eyes, holding his head close to the ground fighting hard not to bury his face into the dirt. Justin stared, gripping hard at tufts of grass with each hand, he gritted his teeth with every strike. And Eugene, poor Eugene, he just whimpered softly. 

We heard the thump and crack like the hit a softball at a kid’s game, except this wasn’t a game. Sam stopped struggling. Jeremy, out of breath from all the exertion, stopped kicking and reached out to hold Dean in mid-swing. They were both out of breath as they looked down at the broken body of the black man. From the brush, I followed the slow gurgle of each breath going as it went in and out, each one shallower than the one before until I couldn’t hear them anymore.

Then we got up and ran out of there.

We ran as fast as our legs could carry us. We ran without looking down at the path in front of us. Will tripped over a tree root, recovered, and continued. Justin ducked and weaved trying unsuccessfully to avoid the branches hitting his face. For a moment I thought I heard someone yelling at us, maybe Dean, maybe Jeremy, I didn’t know. I didn’t want to look back and find out. All I was worried about was whether the Sherman brothers saw who was running away and if they were going to catch us. If they did see us, who did they actually see? Did they see me? Justin, or Will?  Was Eugene keeping up or did they catch him already? The fence looked so far away and the other side of the highway a million miles further. But we made it to the fence, even Eugene, and Justin quickly pulled the opening to the side and held it as the rest of us got through. Then we continue running. I didn’t know if Justin made it through until we got to the other side of the highway, across the McDonald’s parking lot, and behind the gas station next to it. When we got there I bent over and heaved everything that was in my stomach.

When I was done I looked around me and saw that we had all made it. Justin faced the wall of the gas station leaning on his forearm for support. Will sat on the curb, his head between his knees, trying to catch his breath. Eugene laid on the blacktop pavement, arms stretched out like a fat Jesus, wheezing with every breath. We were hot, sweaty, out of breath, and dry-mouthed from the run in the hot sun. Mostly we were scared over what we had all seen. Will looked up in the direction of the overpass and so did I. Nothing. Nobody in pursuit. At least, for now, we had time to take a breather and decide what to do. Should we tell the police? How about our parents? Without speaking each of us rolled the scenarios in our heads over and over. Would they believe us? Would they make us go back there where, where the body, where Sam, laid? And what about the Sherman boys? If they weren’t after us right now where did they go? Are they waiting to ambush us on our way homes? Maybe they’ve gone over to see Marcus and they’ve told him about us? Maybe Marcus was right now telling Jeremy how he’d have to “take care” of us! Nobody said anything. Everyone was trying to figure it out when we were all startled by Eugene.

“SHIT!”

This put the rest of us on alert. Will, Justin and I looked around across the lots and highway hoping not to see the Sherman boys coming for us. None of us saw a thing and were confused by Eugene. With a questioning look, I asked, “What is it, Eugene?”

“My dad is going to kill me!”

We were all puzzled at first until we realized Eugene ran. He ran! He didn’t ride his bike. The bike he left back at the fence behind the tree.

“I gotta go back!”

We all shook our heads and said “No way”, “Nah, not happening”. No one thought it was a good idea going back and none of us were willing to do it. I thought it was crazy. To me, it would have been better for Eugene to take a licking from his Old Man than end up dead and I was pretty sure Will and Justin would agree.

“Who’ll come with me?” Eugene pleaded. “Justin?”

Justin looked down at Eugene and shook his head.

“Will?”

“Fuck no! You’re nuts!”

Eugene then sat up, looking up at me with the saddest look on his face he could make and pleaded, “How about you, Marty? Will you help me get my bike back? Please?”.

The way he looked at me, said my name, I almost gave in. But my thoughts went back to my mom and two sisters at home and how they would be worried if I, if I, didn’t come back. Or worst, if the Shermans did find out who was hiding in the brush and told Marcus. Would he hurt not only me but my family as well because of a dumb old bike? 

“Sorry, Eugene, I …can’t do it. I…just can’t do it. I gotta go home and …I can’t do it. I’m sorry.” I felt like such a heel but I was afraid to go back.

Sitting there on the pavement Eugene looked down at the blacktop, then at each of us before, with a determined look, got his big body up from the ground and started walking in the direction of the highway, the overpass, the woods, the fence, and his bike. Will tried to stop him by grabbing his shoulder but Eugene shrugged him off. We all stood there in silence as we watched the back of his slow lumbering body shuffling off at first and then as he broke into a slow jog.

It was the last we ever saw of Eugene alive.

In the morning I saw the newscast. It was believed that Eugene Ward, in an attempt to cross the highway on his bicycle, was struck by a semi-truck going westbound on Interstate 94. During the investigation, the body of Samual Clemens Jackson was discovered later that evening in the forested area, our woods, along the side of the busy highway. Jackson, so it was later found out, had ties to both Jeremiah and Delano (“Dean?”) Sherman, both wanted for questioning on the robberies occurring in Wessex. Neither of the Sherman boys was ever found by Wessex, or State police and were presumed to have skipped out of the state. Justin, Will, and me never told anyone what we saw that day. Justin didn’t even tell his sister, Junebug, although I was pretty certain he really wanted to.

There was a funeral the Saturday before Labor Day and it almost looked like half the town had shown up. I had trouble sleeping for weeks. I’d had nightmares where I would see the Sherman boys beating up that black guy except it wasn’t Sam but Eugene lying on the ground. Justin had troubles too. He would get quiet sometimes and went through spells where he won’t say much of anything at all. He wouldn’t even share any of those good ideas he used to have before. Eventually, he slowly drifted away from me and Will and stop hanging around with us all together. Will, now, he was just the opposite. He wouldn’t stop talking about it. When Justin wasn’t around, which was becoming quite often by then, he would go on and on about what we saw that day and about Eugene. Heck, he even suggested to me, privately of course, that the Shermans pushed Eugene in front of that semi!  Eventually, he stopped saying anything about it. I guess he got the hint that I didn’t want to talk about it anymore. Then we drifted apart as well. He found he was good talking to girls, his stale jokes made them laugh I guess, and even hooked up with Christy Miller for a while.

High school started and we all were more involved in the transition. After a while, my nightmares went away and I even had problems remembering what Eugene looked like. I know it sounds terrible but it was true, I was forgetting it all and it was becoming unreal to me. It was like a terrible, awful dream that got further and further away as time went on. By our senior year, Eugene had become someone I knew but had a hard time remembering, that is, until today and many years later, when I wrote all of this down.

-A. M. Holmes 

I’m Back …and I Mean It This Time

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Hello. It’s me again. I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, but I believe I am about to remedy that. Things have not been going well for me physically and mentally and I’ve been knocking my head against the walls lately.

I’m burned-out, tired, and emotionally exhausted with what is happening in my job (I had to pause for I almost called it “career” and realized it was actually more like a “job”. There’s a difference). The daily effort of dragging myself out of bed to go to work had become physically and mentally numbing for quite some time. Theirs is no longer the enthusiasm I had for it as when I started ten years ago as to how I feel today. Two factors play into this. First, I’ve never really have done one thing, one job, one task, one, oh whatever, you get it, for more than ten years. Always I get to a point where I get bored and must move on, switch, or start over. The last time I did this was after working 13 years as a quality inspector at the steel foundry I applied for and got training as a journeyman electrician. It was fun. It was intellectually stimulating. It was a career.  But that was under a different company and the one who bought us brings me to the factor involved here. The people I work for are idiots. Well, maybe not total idiots, but money grubbing, abusive, and ignorant to the steelmaking process and the machinery quite the same. I can’t stand working for them and if it weren’t for the healthcare and money, I would have quit a long time ago.

Then there’s the “thing with my arm”. Arthritis and nerve damage are making typing not so much as difficult but annoying. I must stop in the middle of my thought processes to examine the mess I just typed because the left side does not quite move with the flow that it once had. Well, boo-hoo, I say now. There’s “Autocorrect” and “Grammarly” so there aren’t any excuses. I know it’s frustrating but to solve my “career issue” and keep my sanity I just must deal with it. Why not seek medical attention, you ask? I have and all I get is, “you’re getting old”. Bullshit! Time to seek another opinion! Yeah, right, not under my insurance.

So, here I am and it’s time.

Time to get back into practice. Time to get disciplined. Time to get my ideas out and make something out of them. Time for a change.

I know. I’ve made these promises before but now I must do it for my biggest fear now is that it will never happen. I can’t let that be.

A. M. Holmes