Friday, March 30, 2007

It's In the Oven At 350.


Hey Tommy. Listen man, I got a butt burning in the ashtray and something in the oven, I'll be right back bro.

Okay, thanks for hangin' on man.........Yeah, in the ashtray........Yes, in the kitchen.......No, I said I almost never smoke in the house. Besides, it's like the middle of the night here and I'm off on Friday and it's real cold outside and I'm cookin'.........Did I say I never smoke in the house?.......I did?......Well sometimes, once in a great while, on very rare occasions, I will smoke in the kitchen under the exhaust fan but only late at night when the kids are in bed.......Yes, she knows I do that.........Hey, what the hell is this, like a cross examination or somethin'? What, now you're Perry Mason all of the sudden?........Yeah, I know you enjoy this kind of stuff. I'm so friggin' glad that you're so friggin' amused.......Yeah well I was plannin' on tellin' you about what I'm cookin' but I've been busy defending myself against your withering verbal assault. Thank you so much Mr. Guilt Master...........Yeah, funny bro. Look, now I have to go check the oven again, and yes I'm planning on lighting another smoke to enjoy with my coffee......Yeah............ Yes, I'll be right back.

Okay Tommy, I'm back. Now, are you done bein' a pain in the ass?......Good. Hey man, I know it's been a few weeks and I'm sorry, but you ain't exactly been chattin' it up with me either............Now how am I supposed to know that? I don't know how this works. All I know is that Patrick Swayze was kickin' the crap out of the bad guys in that movie.........No I'm not really sure if that's how you spell his name........Yeah, that was a pretty lame flick but the chicks sure dig it.........Yeah I know. Give me something with John Wayne and Ben Johnson in it any day.......Hey Tommy, I have to be honest with you. I mean, not to change the subject or anything, but I'm not even sure where it is that you are. I mean, you know, we both did our share if you know what I mean.......Yeah I know it was legal, we were soldiers then, but that still don't make it right. Besides, you stayed in the army and I left and joined the cops where I did my own share in the line of duty.........No, fortunately I never had to do that but I did have to put a hurtin' on a few people in order to affect an arrest. It happens sometimes, not everyone is happy about gettin' locked up. Anyway, sometimes I just wonder about it. Sometimes I wonder about my soul, if that makes any sense.........Well yeah, that's kind of why I was wonderin' if maybe you could help me out here. I was wonderin' if maybe you could tell me what happens to guys like us.


Friday, March 23, 2007


I am, spring is here. It's raining but it's warm outside. Wife is sleeping, dogs are dogging, kids are kidding, Squarehead is squaring, or trying to square. Square away my life that is, I'm sick of being a home owner. Life was better when we first got married and rented. I always thought I wanted to own my own house, this is our third house and I'm sick of it. This line of thought is stupid, now that I'm reading my own words that is. What the hell, I'll leave it here anyway. I appreciate the comments on the previous post, makes me think that maybe I really can do this. I have to craft some more query letters and send them out to some more agency type agents so that I can receive some more rejections. I don't think I've gotten enough rejection letters yet, I need some more. Rejection, it's like PT. It hurts but it's so good for you.

Gimme some,........Gimme some,.......PT,.........PT,........So good,........Good for you,........Good for me,.......Now gimme some,........So good,.......So good,........

I can run to Texas just like this,..........All the way to Fort Hood and never quit,.........I can to Panama just like this,..........All the way to Jungle School and never quit,...........I can run in Georgia just like this,..........Red clay and Ranger School just like this,.........

PAIN!...In my legs,.....PAIN!...In my lungs,.....PAIN!...Makes me wish,....PAIN!...I'll never quit,.......

See yuz all later.


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

A Simple Sample.

Well, some time ago, a reader (Hey okay) asked me to post some writing samples on this blog of mine. Of course I agreed, somewhat excited about the whole idea, but......I froze. What to chose? What to cut and paste? What if nobody likes my stories? What if I suck as a writer? Like I said before, not too much scares me in this world, except snakes. I really don't like snakes. I have faced dangerous situations and like I said, I even survived a Greatful Dead concert, but the thought of putting my work out there scares the living you know what out of me. Anyway, here it goes. What follows is the first four pages of my current manuscript, it's a work in progress.. The spaces in the text indicate page breaks, I really don't feel like editing this to include paragraph indents. This is the way the document appeared after the cut and paste. If I mess with it then I will end up editing it for content, possibly re-writing the entire thing because that's how I am. Nothing I have ever written is good enough for me. I am still waiting to hear from the agency that is currently reviewing a book I wrote. Maybe next time I will post excerpts from that one as well, we'll see. Anyway, Okay, here it is baby.

Oh yeah, just a little reminder. This is all copyrighted material.

So Mike and Bobby were thinking about getting good and drunk when I got there. I grab a pitcher of beer and a mug at the bar. Old Jinks, he slid my change across to me. I said hey and he just nodded like always . I slide a dollar back across the bar, pocket the rest of my change before joining the guys who were sitting at our favorite table.
Bobby, he’s kind of new in town, moved here about a year ago from some place out west. He’s in his late twenties, a decade or two younger than most of us. Bobby fits right in down at the shop. I walked up and sat down at the table. Mike was glad to see the fresh pitcher of draft. I filled my mug then slid the pitcher on over, it lightly bumped into his half full mug as the crack of the cue ball breaking the rack exploded from the pool table right over Mike’s left shoulder. Bobby said that was cool, he chuckled in that funny way that he does.

Murphy’s is the place, two pool tables and a great jukebox. It’s been the tavern where we all hang out for as long as I can remember. No one knows why Jinks decided to call it
Murphy’s. Over the years there’s been lots of speculation, even a few bets laid down. Jinks ain’t talking. Ask him once and he smiles, shakes his head and walks away. Ask him a second time, Jinks sort of growls. Nobody has ever asked a third time. If you knew Jinks you’d know what I mean.
It’s a red brick building, heavy old rafters run the length of the twelve foot ceiling front to back of what was once a garage, until Jinks bought it back in 1971. Jinks lives out back in the one story two bedroom house that came with place. The first thing you notice when you walk into Murphy’s Tavern is the floor. Sixteen inch solid red oak planks, no stain, just natural. The planks are clear coated with a satin finish. You can just about see yourself in that floor, especially at closing time when the lights get turned all the way up. Everybody loves that floor. Must have cost a fortune for all that oak.
The red brick walls are painted white on the inside, covered with old pictures and beer signs. Outside it still looks the same. Jinks re-pointed all the joints, replaced the windows and doors but left the rest alone. The old sign painted right on the brick, white lettering over a black background still reads Bickle’s Auto and Truck Repair. A small wooden sign hangs over the front door that says Murphy’s Tavern in six inch letters. Yeah, it’s a cool old building. You can’t park on the street there. Jinks has ample paved parking to the right as you face the tavern. Over the years he purchased the houses on either side, tore them down and planted trees. Murphy’s is right in the middle of town, but it feels like you’re out in the country.

So Mike had his name up on the chalk board. Mike likes to shoot pool, he’s pretty good at it too. Bobby was feeding the juke box like always, he got up to stuff a fresh five
dollar bill in the music machine. You get three songs for a dollar, twenty songs for five. Everybody at Murphy’s Tavern likes what Bobby plays. All the younger women check him out as he walks across the bar towards the juke box. We have all heard them talk, they all think he’s cute. They really like his slow and deliberate way of speaking, and his manners. Bobby says yes sir and thank you mam, that sort of thing.
Mike is on the table, he’s got a game going with old Hank Orcheck. Hank works for the county, got a good job with the road department. Bobby got himself tangled up with some college girls, he smiled at me from across the room. He motioned to me that they were going outside for a minute. I knew what they were doing, smoking half a joint in Bobby’s van is what they were going to do. He asked me with his eyes, asked me if I wanted to join them. I smiled and passed on the offer. I’m getting too old for that shit. Besides, I don’t know those two girls and they seem a little too young for my company. I don’t care what Bobby does, it’s Saturday night and we ain’t working on Sunday.
Mike has a game, Bobby’s getting stoned and trying to score, I’m alone at our favorite table when Pepper strolls up and sits down. Her given name is Helga, after her mother but nobody ever calls her that. She’s been Pepper since her auburn hair started coming in when she was just a baby. Pepper, it fits her personality too. She’s kind of hot and spicy, not bad looking either. Me and Pepper go way back, known each other since grade school. My father and her father have been friends since we were kids. Everybody wonders, not if but when Pepper and me are going to get together. Everyone says we’d make a good couple. We both wonder too. Sometimes we joke around about it, guess we sort of flirt with each other sometimes. It’s fun, flirting with Pepper.

She tells me that she passed Bobby and the two college girls on her way in. She laughs and says we should take a walk outside in about ten minutes, see if that big van of his is rocking in the parking lot. She knows how to make me blush, gets me every time. I look at her smile, the laugh lines around her pretty hazel eyes, she starts to blush some too. Yeah, me and Pepper, we go way back. I never said the words, but she always knew I liked her. We only kissed once, that was in seventh grade at the Halloween Dance. Somehow we just kept missing each other. She’s so pretty, she was always so popular I never had the guts to ask her out.
Pepper and me, we both ended up marrying our teenage flames like you sometimes do. We both got burned by those flames. I was in the army when I married a dancer down in Columbus Georgia. She was cheating on me from the outset. She came back here to Pennsylvania with me when I finished my four year enlistment. It was over six months later. We never had children, she went back down south and I never heard from her again. Pepper married a guy she met at college, he was from Boston. She was nineteen when their son was born in 1981. Just a few months later her husband punched her in the mouth. Her father made him go away. He went back to Boston and she never heard from him again.
I still don’t know why, but that night at Murphy’s I had a feeling. As soon as I saw Pepper walk out of the kitchen and straight towards me, I had a feeling. We were staring at each other, we were both blushing. I remember my ears felt hot. All the Saturday night sounds of the busy tavern seemed to fade away and she dropped a bomb in my lap. She asked me to marry her, just like that.

Spring Forward.

Yup, it's now lighter out later. So yesterday our younger daughter, she's eleven, was complaining about losing the hour on Sunday. She was saying that it screwed her all up. She's PMS'ing, great. So her older sister says to her, ...

"Why don't you write a letter to the President and tell him that you don't like daylight savings?".....

So, the little one does not miss a beat. She fires right back.

"No, that will just make things worse, I can see it now. The President will get my letter and say, uh oh, somebody doesn't like daylight savings. I better send more troops to Iraq."

Well, that was not expected. I laughed my ass off. Who would have thought that an eleven year old would come up with something like that. She is a very funny kid and her sense of humor is really developing. Her big sister and my wife are both really funny too. I just never expected to hear political humor from one so young.

My wife and I do not impose our views on our children, they have to make up their own minds about things. I don't want anyone to think that her funny comments are the result of parental influence. She is very smart, she reads everything from Highlights to National Geographic and the newspaper. We are very proud of our little one, she is becoming a sarcastic wit and that's a good thing. After all, we are from Jersey originally. You can take the girl out of Jersey...........

Friday, March 02, 2007're it.....

Okay, so years and years ago, when we were first together my wife bought me a bottle of cologne. I don't remember what brand it was but it was one of those trendy expensive type deals. I have never been much of a cologne kind of guy, I'll slap some anti-stank stick under my arms after a shower but that's about it. I wore the cologne a few times but ended up throwing it out a few years later when we moved out of our first apartment. If you have not guessed by now, I'm really not a very stylin' kind of person. I don't keep up with trendy things, don't pay attention to any of that stuff and sometimes it bothers her a little bit. Sometimes she says I'm too old for my age, sometimes she's more diplomatic and says I'm an old soul.

So, the other day I'm talking with this young at work, he's twenty-two and I'm the same age as his dad. He and I started down at The Dock on the same day, we've always gotten along and we work well together. Anyway, we were talking about women, and one young woman in particular, a young woman that he's interested in. I can tell he really digs this girl, when his cell phone rings he never answers it unless he can talk to her privately. Yeah, so the other day he gives me a ride home from work. Like I was saying in the previous post, I've been having a little car trouble lately. (As of 12MAR07, the day I am completing this post, I think I've got it fixed.)

So when he's driving me home I notice a can of body spray type deodorant for men laying on the floor of his car. I ask him if it's true what they say in the ads for that stuff, you know, about women going crazy for the guy who wears it. He laughs and says yeah, as far as he knows it's true. He says that girl he's been seeing goes crazy for it. So I decide maybe to leap into the twenty-first century and maybe surprise my wife with something she would not expect. I go to the store to buy myself some of that body spray, I had no idea they had so many different kinds.

Rather than buy the wrong stuff, I wait until I see this kid at work again and I ask him for a recommendation. He starts laughing, I say what's so funny? He says nothing, he says that his dad asked him the same question. He said it's just kind of funny because his dad said that he had great success with the body spray. He said his mom apparently really liked it. So he tells me what type I should try, I tried it..............Wow, not exactly like the ads but my wife was really digging it. So now I wear it sometimes, she likes the way it makes me smell. The whole thing put a big smile on her face, that makes me feel good. I love to see my wife smile.

Hey Tommy! How you been bro?....Good, yeah it's still crazy. The friggin' furnace broke, well the blower motor quit on me anyway.....Yeah, I called the guy and he wants eighty bucks just to walk in the door...Nope, I told him to forget it. We have two separate heating systems The attic job keeps the upstairs nice and toasty, I can manually fire up the downstairs unit and at least keep things from freezing....No, the motor runs but then it overheats and shuts down....Yeah, so I run it for a bit then shut it down at the thermostat before it overheats....No, it's not dangerous, it's just the blower motor...Yup, the girl at the supply house is ordering me a new motor...No, it's a big unit, got a 3/4 horse GE motor with dual shafts that drive the dual squirrel cages....Right, got dual return air...No, I can change it out. It's got six wires, not real complicated, it's going to be a real pain in the ass though. I have to slide the whole assembly out in order to access the motor....Yup, it's already warming up here, got fifties during the day, mid-sixties tomorrow, so I'll wait until the motor comes in then change it out when it's nice and warm....Yup, I'll save probably two-hundred bucks or more by doing it myself....Hey bro, I got a funny story for you, I'll tell you later tonight after work...Yes I promise...Yup' gonna blog after my shift tonight, things are finally slowing down around here some. Catch you later Tommy............ Oh yeah, I thought maybe the title of this post would enough of a clue for you, guess not....."TAG", it's called "TAG".....Yeah, I got the "Midnight" scent.. Yup, it does work..........Hey hey, that's enough. I do not kiss and tell.