Haiku for the Day: I sit

I sit at my desk
making stories and poems
once upon a times

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The Nature Walk

Elgar was always surprised when, only a few feet away from the highway, there was nature. Trees, a river and deer. At least once a month, he drove up to this end of the island, parked and walked into what he considered a painting. A landscape. Here it was autumn and nature was doing her nature thing as always. This was the last visit he was to make in a long time. If ever. The next Saturday he was getting married, then they were moving out west to California. He would miss all this. It was his little secret. He hadn’t even told Louise. He wondered why that was. Was he hedging his bets? Didn’t he think the marriage would last. He hoped it would.

It was quiet on the lake. He looked out and watched a fish jump. The birds sang their last songs as they prepared to fly south for the winter. The trees unburdened themselves of their leaves. It was going to be a good day for a walk among the trees. He felt like Thoreau must have felt walking the Maine woods.

As he sauntered along, he pulled out his sketch book. He wasn’t much of a draftsman but he always made out what was on the paper. He had what must have been hundreds of these pads. He saw a bird peeping down through the leaves, watching him. He stood still, very still. Only his fingers moved with the pencil. The bird seemed to be saying his goodbye too. He felt sad for them both. His eyes did not take their focus off the bird. A long time ago he learned to let his hand draw what he was seeing while he watched the subject. He smiled, thinking about that.

When was he going to show Louise all his drawings and tell her of his nature walks? He felt guilty. It wasn’t that he hadn’t tried. Every time he went to tell her something else came up. Should couples have secrets from one another? He wasn’t thinking of adultery or anything like that. He was thinking of something like his nature walk.

The thing was that he spent most of his time in the rough and tumble world of business. Managing a store was a 24/7 job and he had bought into the bargain. If he had not had these occasional excursions he couldn’t have survived it. He thought about the move. It was to the company’s headquarters to take over a division. It would be quite a bit more money. Louise liked the idea of moving out west. She had wanted to live in California for a long time. And he was sure there were places like this one out there. Well, maybe not like this one but natural places.

Jack loved the city. Its hustle and bustle. The people. But this was where he came to refill his tank. There came a point when he just felt drained. He remembered reading a book about John Muir. How he spent much of his time in the wilderness. Theodore Roosevelt got away from his political life and went out to Wyoming. These were great men who did great things. Now all the great ones did was go play golf. That was no way to relax. When he played golf, he became very competitive.

He finished his drawing, saluted the bird, and moved on. He saw a large rock and went over to it and sat down. He reached into the canvas pack at his waist and pulled out a paper bag of sandwiches. They were peanut butter. He uncapped his canteen and drank a swig of water. Sitting there, his teeth tearing into a sandwich, he realized what a happy man he was. And how fortunate. He had a great job. He had Louise. He had his health. He had enough money to live on and raise a family. So why was he feeling such trepidation. Why?

He remembered the first time he saw Louise. A friend had invited him to her recital. Afterward he walked over, and in his own quiet way, he congratulated her on her playing and her choice of music. He thoroughly enjoyed it. Then she surprised him, “Would you like to get a cup of coffee sometime?” He surprised himself. “How about now. I mean, after you’re done here.” She thought about his offer. “Why not,” she answered. “I just have a few more people to see, then we can go.”

The crowd thinned out, she picked up her purse, and she walked over to him. “I’m ready.”

They spent a couple of hours with that coffee. They talked about the weather and the stock market. She was an analyst. They talked politics. She was a conservative. He was a liberal. Neither of them were very political. They voted but they didn’t attend rallies or campaign for a candidate.

After three, four dates, they had sex. It was good sex. Not great but good. They enjoyed each other’s company. They went to the opera. She was into the opera. They went to baseball games. He was into baseball. It had taken six months to date eight times. His schedule didn’t make it easy. Though he enjoyed his work, it left little time for a personal life. That was the reason for the move to California. When he was offered it, he called Louise and asked her what she thought.

“You would definitely have more us time,” she said. “I’d like that a lot.”

The next time they went out, he proposed marriage. He was surprised that she said yes, But she had.

A deer watched him from a distance behind some trees. He finished his sandwich and slipped his pad and pencil into his hand. Slowly he sketched, trying not to scare the deer. The deer seemed to understand that she was in no danger.

Politics in America 36: First a word from our sponsor…Well, not really 

Stever the Cleaver was an assassin. That’s what he did. That’s what he was. But lately he had a lot of free time. It’s never a good idea for an assassin to have a lot of free time. He might just go off half cocked. Or even worse, full cocked.

First he tried out a new revolver. Shot himself in the foot. Then he went and did his knife-throwing thing. He almost stabbed himself in the other foot. He did hit his big toe and that hurt. ‘Bout the time Stever was about to give up hope, he got a call. From Al Fresco of all people.

Al Fresco had an idea. He said into the phone, “Stever, I got a job for you.”

“A job? Anything for a job,” Stever said to himself, then spoke into the phone, “How much does it pay?”

“It’s minimum wage,” Al let the Cleaver know.

“What do you mean? Minimum wage? Have you read my resume’?”

“Of course, I know your resume’. But this is a government contract.”

Stever thought about it for a few minutes, then said, “If it’s a government contract, then okay.” The Cleaver had been wanting to get in at the government trough for years. Here was his chance.

Then Al Fresco let the cat out of the bag. It was the President’s numbers. They were down big time all because of them darn boots. Something had to be done. It was the third year in The Great Man’s first term. “I want you to try to take out Bessie Mae Hogg.”

“What?” You could have heard Stever’s “what” all the way to France. Of course, it did help that Stever was in his hideout in Paris.

“Calm down,” Al said. “You’re just going to fake it. We’ll blame it on the Mayor from Snort Holler. He’s been making noises lately.”

“In that case, I’m in.” Stever chuckled at the mischief he was about to create. “I’ll do this one for free.”

“You good hearted s.o.b.,” Al said.

“When’s the job?” Stever wanted to know.

“Friday,” Al Fresco said.

“Friday the thirteenth?”

“That’s right.”

Just his luck. Friday the thirteenth. It wasn’t that Stever was superstitious. It was that he was superstitious. Things had not been going well for him lately. Now this. If Stever had not been so darned bored, he wouldn’t have agreed to the proposition.

Next Week The Chapter You’ve Been Waiting For 

On Top of It #17: A Lesson in Humility and Tone

I read this and it brought home the difficult lives and choices college graduates are having to suffer through what with huge student debt. Today’s bachelor degree is what a high school diploma was when I was going to school. Without at least some college education or trade school, it isn’t possible to be hired in most fields these days.

The Drunken Odyssey

On Top of It #17 by Lisa Martens

A Lesson in Humility and Tone: Talia Jane

This weekend, the Internet caught fire with Talia Jane, a Yelp customer support representative who wrote a public, scathing letter to the CEO of her company and, of course, was fired soon after.

I agree with a higher minimum wage. I also agree that student debt cripples the dreams of many young Americans . . . such as myself. And so, I opened the link ready to read a letter written by an educated young woman, a fellow customer support rep, my peer, addressing these points.

What I read was a condescending rant that looked like a long drunk text I might send to the person labeled “Fuckboy” in my phone. Asking the CEO to pay her phone bill? Complaining that she couldn’t take the free food home? Bitching about the $20 copay to…

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Big Don

This here is my theme song and it is to be sung to the tune of Jimmy Dean’s “Big John”

1.He was a heck of a man

With a slight slight tan

Six foot none

And his hair was gone.

He was Don, Big Don,

Big Tall Don.

 

2.He wore a hat

To the right it tipped

And dark glasses too

So he wouldn’t catch flu.

He was Don, Big Don,

Big Tall Don.

 

3.He was a library clerk

And he loved to work

He came in at noon

Sometimes a little too soon.

He was Don, Big Don,

Big Tall Don.

 

4.He arrived at work one Monday day

Everything was thrown every which-a-way

He looked from side to side and all around

There wasn’t a clerk anywhere to be found

He heard a noise from away far-off

A still small voice with an obvious cough

He went to the cabinet sitting in front

He pulled out a drawer and began his hunt.

He was Don, Big Don, Big Tall Don.

 

5.The voice he’d heard it was down in there

Where it was he couldn’t be sure

He reached on in and pulled himself through

The hole in the drawer fit like an old shoe

He followed what he’d heard deep deep down

Through the caverns and caves he followed that sound

When after a heck of a whole lotta feet

He found himself just about to retreat.

He was Don, Big Don, Big Tall Don.

 

6.The hole got smaller but the sound grew louder

So on he plunged and the tunnel was a bit tighter

While up above the librarians stood

And listened all the best that they could

For the Yodeling Don and the lost clerks

Trapped deep down in the depths of the earth

He kept on moving and moving on he went

Creeping and crawling through every little vent.

He was Don, Big Don, Big Tall Don.

 

7.Until upon a group he finally came

All stuck under a pile of books and magazines

Well he digged and he dugged and he digged real fast

The air in that tunnel surely wouldn’t last

He pushed and he pulled and he got a clerk out

Sent her above as the librarians gave a happy shout

There were ten, twenty, thirty clerks or more

And pulling them out was like mining for ore.

He was Don, Big Don, Big Tall Don.

 

8.But out they did come one by one

And the books they fell ton by ton

Barely missing clerk by clerk until

There was only one clerk left to kill

Then Don had saved them all

He’d come to the rescue and didn’t stall

But now he was caught in the head

Banged by a ten pound book about lead.

He was Don, Big Don, Big Tall Don.

 

9.First he was stunned and then knocked out

As he fell to the floor turning around and about

They came crashing down upon him they fell

As the last rescued clerk crawled through the shell

Of an underground that was all blocked off

By all those books that had fallen rough

Upon the man they’d known as

Don, Big Don, Big Tall Don.