Posted by: Captain Forehead
karma: 2 [+/-]
“You almost done?” a once very familiar voice queried.

“Give me 15 minutes,” I answered, tossing a lazy smile. “Want anything while you wait?”

“Sure. Give me a coffee.”

“Anything in it? Anything special?”

“No, black. I can add the cream and sugar myself.”

Though it was many days later than he had stated, I expected Izzy’s arrival. He was undoubtedly carrying a plane ticket so I could go check on his daughter in some foreign destination. My manger had been told... Manager? My manager... The man temporarily running the bean crushing operation was told that I would be leaving soon for a short sabbatical. Now was the time. I told the woman with whom I kept guarded companionship the same thing, but she had not heard.

“I’ll be back in a couple of weeks, or a month, or a year, or 17 days, or never,” was my proclamation to management as I finished my shift and handed over my apron.

“You will be back, right?”

A wink was all I could offer in honesty.

“Bye.”

“Take care.”

“Freak.”

“Be safe.”

Turning to acknowledge the no-longer coworkers, I nodded in appreciation and exited the building, taking a seat out front with my old ally Izzy.

“You going somewhere?” Izzy grumbled.

“I am always going somewhere, even when I am going nowhere.”

“You’re still the same,” Izzy offered, laughing.

“Yet different,” I promised.

“The question is, am I going somewhere for you?”

Tossing me itinerary and a loaded cash card, he said, “Just find her and check. This is all the information I have, but it’s pretty much everything you need, so it should be easy. You leave in 4 days.”

Raising my cup to take a drink, Izzy raised his coffee and extended it to toast. We toasted. Not sure what we toasted, but we toasted.

We talked the empty talk of old friends who have no need to impress and no concern for impression. After about 46 minutes, there was a restful, natural lull.

“I am going to do something that would get your adrenaline pumping tonight. Interested?”

“What?” Izzy asked in guarded tone.

“Something very bad, for the purpose of good.”

“Will someone be hurt?”

“Perhaps. Though, others may be saved.”

“Is hurt the intention?”

“The intention is to stop a bad man from doing bad things. Actually, that is not true. It is to punish a bad man for something he did.”

“Do you need my help?”

“He is a heavily armed, huge man, with deep connections on your side of the line. Full disclosure: he was a sheriff.”

“And?”

“Are you in?”

“I don’t know. I’m not as young as I used to be. I don’t know if I can keep up with you. I don’t...”

“No excuses. Yes or no is all I need, and I am hearing a ‘no’.”

“Well...”

Who would have thought Izzy would become a spectator. I guess we all move to the sideline at some point in our lives. Some never get in the game, but Izzy moving to the sideline? Makes me wonder if I am making thejourney to find his daughter because he wants to keep his seat on the sideline warm.

“I’m in!” Izzy shouted after prolonged silence.

“Too late. You know better than I do... Heck, you’re the one who taught me, hesitation kills. You’re not in. Maybe next time.”

“Whatever. That’s fine, I’d probably get hurt anyway.”

We parted ways. We have to talk again, when I find his daughter. I return to my friend’s bungalow and tell her that I was leaving...immediately. She becomes angry, throws objects at my head and proceeds to get me so jacked up on her sweet sticky candy that I was on the verge of becoming diabetic. The woman knows how to dispense her soft and tasty treats. After a short period of unconsciousness, I grabbed a bag and left.

There was one more stop to make. A sheriff of ignoble character had moved into town. He was living comfortably on his generous retirement, which he starting taking about 6 months before relocating to the quiet little town...after pleading guilty to manslaughter of two teenage girls, for which he received 6 months probation. (You would think a cretin of criminal character would want to stay in such a pro-irresponsibility locale.) The case was clear. The beast was at fault for killing two beautiful young girls who had yet to experience the full joy and pleasure of life.

Having watched the remorseless remnant, I knew his routine. I know the man is heavily armed, and a massive bull of a man, but all had been taken into account.

1) While Deepak was taking a late dinner, I borrow his taxi.

2) I pick up Mr. Murder as Meaningless Misdemeanor from in front of the strip club.

3) I drive the demon back to his house.
I looked into his dead, empty eyes through the rear view mirror.

3) Unexpected: “Isn’t this a beautiful night?” I ask.
“Just take me the fuck home,” was his near final response.

4) I drop him off in a way that he will take the desired path. He does as expected, walking behind the car and coming to my window to pay.
“What the fuck you smilin’ about, dumbfuck!?”
He threw money through the window and headed toward the front door.

5) Walking in front of the taxi, between the taxi and his elevated pickup truck, the hand of fate continued to encourage the plan. The taxi had been left in gear for a reason. The taxi accelerated to crush the man between the two vehicles.

6) Walk away. Yes, the screaming and yelling were loud, but a casual walk away is the best way to retreat unnoticed. I thought of offering some last words of wisdom, but figured he should be along with his thoughts, and I should find freedom.

No need to look back and see what the hand of fate brought the inconsequential murderer of precious young beauty, as I am simply the hand’s tool.

It is surprising how quickly the sirens approach. I would rather not spend my time in their system of punishment, as I doubt I will be rewarded or dismissed with a period of probation being paid, but that is the hand of fate.

A car pulled along side me as I walked quickly.

“Get in!”

I look at the man. I am in no position to argue, and his car seemed less obvious than being the only person walking the street.

“I saw what you did,” I heard the man say as soon as the door closed.

There was nothing I had to offer in response.

“Thank you,” he added.

Looking into his face, I could see his words were sincere.

“I’ve wanted to do something since the day he moved in. I can’t believe he was allowed to kill two beautiful young girls. I have 3 daughters and all I have been thinking about since he moved in was how to make him pay. And then you come and do this. I feel like a coward. I didn’t do anything.”

“But you have, you are. This is your role. This is what the hand of fate was guiding you to do and you did it.”

He smiled, sitting a little more erect in his seat. “Where can I take you?”

As much as the man was saving me, there was a need to put myself at risk. My bag was waiting for me in an abandoned lot, where those without permanent roofs and proper ties to society often find respite. I would have him drop me off in a toxic neighborhood a few miles east of my destination, a neighborhood society pretends does not exist and any and all activities are excused.

“Thank you. I hope you never speak of this and rest knowing you have done your part to bring a bit of justice into the world,” I offer as I exit the vehicle, seeing his trembling fear at the neighborhood he found himself.

“Thank you, and I have nothing to share with anyone. Do you mind me asking your name?”

“You can ask me anything you wish. Again, thank you.” Then my hand guided the door closed.

I understand there are lines I continue to cross, lines that become more and more blurry each and every day. I also understand I will not be able to cross back. I will trust the truthful hand of fate, wherever that may lead.
Posted by: Captain Forehead
karma: 32 [+/-]
Sitting in a queue waiting for my turn to fuel the vehicle, a spot opened. Not being the next in queue, I waited for the old couple in the vehicle ahead to fill the empty slot. Old people, by nature, are slow, and before they could grasp the beckoning slot waiting for their vehicle to comfortably penetrate, an impatient woman from another queue jumped across and filled the gap. I quietly sat and watched, planning.

Usually, I would have some choice advice for a woman who would car-block an old couple like that, then I realized that as I was queued behind the old couple, she was stealing time from me as well! And though I can assume I have more time than the slow moving ancients, who knows. The woman needed a bite of sound advice.

Thinking of what to say to the offender that fit the crime, I watched her pump gas while she talked to her young children in the back seat — younger than one would have expected for a woman with her worn face. Her body was closely observed as it was unexpectedly firm, with fancy floating frontage struggling to stay under the tiny bit of clothing she wore. Perhaps if she had spent less on her sparkling SUV or fancy floating frontage, she could afford a full shirt and shorts, but pieces of clothing were apparently all her budget allowed. I then realized what I would say.

It was difficult to admit, but with what I had encountered in my current incarnation, I could care less about the line jumper. I did not feel like saying anything. I heard the old man grumbling and would have backed his voice of reprimand, but he just wanted to loudly grumble to his wife — and stare at the fancy floating frontage. If he was to have nothing to say, I had nothing to say. I had to admit, I did not really care. The hand of fate would have to take care of this one without my assistance. (Perhaps I was too mesmerized by the fancy floating frontage.)

While the SUV filled, she gathered juice boxes, candy wrappers and other trash from about her children and threw it away, avoiding eye contact with the old couple or anyone else who saw her little maneuver. It was clear that this was how she did life, with an apparent misunderstanding of the consequences.

I smiled as she finished pumping her gas, jumped in the car and sped away, knowing that at some point when she least expected it, fate would intervene. Fortunately for me, fate offered a front row seat.

Being in such a hurry, she zipped quickly out of the station and jumped into the street, where she encountered a truck whose driver was also in a hurry. The two met with a loud, mangling, crunch. Alas, as with her cutting off the old couple, I did not really care.

People stopped in traffic; people ran from their cars in the station; people came from the sidewalk; all because the did not know her, but wanted to help. I figure fate just took her to where she was headed.

With the fancy floating frontage, I am sure she is fine. Then again, does one truly care? Sometimes doing good is simply letting things be as they are...and you can count on fate being a vindictive bastard.
Posted by: Captain Forehead
karma: 67 [+/-]
Alone.

Not sure how or why I did what I had no choice but to do, though there can be no doubt I learned. 12 focused hours pursuing adult content on-line for educational purposes and I am left with more questions than answers. Though I made a vow of personal touching prohibition, violating the prohibition only 3 times seems like an accomplishment — as having fought 3 hard intrusions into submission in 12 hours must also be considered an accomplishment. Still confused about the whole thing.

Why does one want the world to watch them be ‘intimate’? Clearly intimate is not the appropriate word choice... Still, do so many women have daddy issues or is this simply the maturation of society’s move toward the look-at-me! culture? Of course, we know why men do it... We know.

There is something very hollow about the content. People stop interacting with one another in pursuit of actually touching a partner to touch themselves. Some would say it makes for a more ‘polite’ society, but in reality it breeds a disconnected, dishonest society, where needs are dismissed and placated by the lonely self. And yet the desire to sexually stimulate the brain has been throughout time the motivator of a significant amount of technological advancement. So, of course the sexbot is coming!

Once the sex-bot hits the market, those who are marketing themselves solely as vehicles of sex will be pushed out of the market. Sure humans will be cheaper than machines, but if they have nothing more to offer than the machines... It would appear that we are at the end of the species when machines and the self catch the lightening juice meant for the creation of life. Alas, this sounds like stupidity — a nice name for evil — but needs will be served, until there is little left to survive.

Twelve hours of observation. What has been learned: enjoy the moment, the reality, the touch, because it will be fake soon enough...except for he of thee...
Posted by: Captain Forehead
karma: 44 [+/-]
“Could you come with me?”

“Where?”

“A meeting?”

“Why me?”

“I don’t want to go alone and you’ve always been very nice.”

Yes, it was a strange request from a woman I barely knew, who I did talk with on a friendly basis when she came for coffee, but mainly because she had perfect softness and the most inviting smile of any middle-aged woman I had encountered. She was a classic natural beauty, and did not seem to realize her gift.

“Sure,” I answered without consideration, tempting myself with the possibilities of being alone with her softness.

“You’re so nice. Thank you.”

“What kind of meeting?” I asked, realizing I answered before gathering important details.

“Al-Anon.”

“Al Anon? Who’s that?”

“Not sure. I’ve never been, but my therapist said it would be good for me.”

Life is about experience.

“Should I pick you up here? Around 6:30?”

“Sounds fine.”

“You don’t have to come.”

“No, I don’t mind...Tina. It is Tina, right?”

“Yes. Okay, I’ll see you around 6:30.”

“Till then.”

Asking around, I learn that Al Anon was a what, not a who. I was given insight into what a meeting was about, and those that seemed to know the most were carrying their baggage markedly.

At about 6:45, a shiny luxury sports car pulled up in front, of my empty place of employ. A window rolled down and the beautiful woman looked at me and smiled. I am not sure what it is about her, but there is a chemical connection. Nothing had to be said. I walked over to the car and took my place in the passenger’s seat.

“Nice car,” I offered as polite verbal interaction.

“It’s comfortable.”

“Very.”

“Want to drive?”

“No, thank you.”

“I really appreciate you coming with me. I am sure it was an unusual request, but I feel comfortable around you, for some reason.”

“It’s the dashing smile, I’m sure. Thank you.”

Ding? Yes, I heard a ding. There was the chance she might be a 12 on a 1 to 10 crazy scale, so I kept watch on the words I let escape my lips — there has been the occasional woman who has decided we were in a permanent relationship because of a few shared words of kindness.

It did not take long for us to arrive at a small, rundown church. We parked and found our way to the drab room where the meeting was held. Immediately, I was swallowed by the room’s sadness.

There were less than a dozen people sitting around an array of folding chairs pushed together. They used only their first name and tried to make us feel welcome. They told their stories of sufferance of a spouse or child that was an addict, usually an alcoholic, though some were committed addicts, not limiting themselves to alcohol or any single intoxicant. They asked me to share, and though I felt like a bit of a fraud, a thieving voyeur, I was not going to belittle them by telling them I was there for the experience, so simply offered a “No, thank you.” They then invited Tina to share.

Years of practice in non-response allowed my expression to remain unchanged as she detailed the experiences of her childhood as the offspring of two full-time, functioning alcoholics. As she told the stories, her face hardened to try and hold back the escaping tears, you could not help but hate the monsters she called mom and dad. The incredible natural beauty emanated by this woman hid the carnage that worked to destroy her from within. Listening to the horror of abuse all forms, I was unable to restrain all tears. The fact that this woman functioned at all made her my hero, and diminished the obstacles I thought I had encountered. And then, memories.

Her honest and open sharing of experiences brought a flood of memories I had locked away in the vault of isolation. Her experience touched home because I shared many, and when she was done speaking I decided to vomit my experience to the group. The vault was a tad full, so I spewed enough to make room for the present, leaving the horrors of the past in that room, on that array of tables, where they belonged.

When the meeting was over, we were on our way out of the door and a man chased me down.

“I just want you to know how much I appreciate you coming. If you want, there’s a men only meeting on Thursdays, and you’re more than welcome to come. It’s over by the old Circuit City building. Do you know where that is?”

“Yes. Thank you,” I offered, unable to confess I was here to support my escort, my beautiful acquaintance.

“I think you’d like it.”

“Thank you.”

“Well, thank you for caring. 8 Thursdays, if you are interested.”

“Thank you,” was offered one last time, as we walked away. I could see he longed for something I could not give him, but felt I possessed. “I’m sorry about your son.”

“I’ve accepted it’s his choice, but thank you. Thank you very much.” He clenched my hand firmly, desperately.

When Tina and I finally returned to the car and were on the road, I felt a lightness, a sense of unburdening with everything I had left on the table. My escort seemed withdrawn, hardened, upset about the memories she had unearthed.

“Thank you for taking me. It was an experience.”

“You’re welcome,” was her subdued retort.

“Are you going again?”

“I don’t think so. What’s the point? Dragging up the memories of my shitty parents doesn’t change anything. I was giving it a chance because my therapist suggested it. You seemed to enjoy it, though. You should keep going.”

Her words seemed bitter, as she withdrew further. She now seemed angry...at me. Perhaps I saw too much, or showed too much. Silence prevailed the remainder of the trip.

Tina dropped me off, thanked me, leaving quickly with her demons...without offering a tasty treat of chewy, gooey, goodness, which seemed to be souring with every moment. I stood, looking around at the bustle of the relentless world.

How can we know what is in another when we have such difficulty knowing what is within our self? Yet, we have to go forth with the belief that we know both.

The great illusion of life is that it is not an illusion.
Posted by: Captain Forehead
karma: 40 [+/-]
“Hypothetically?”

“Sure, hypothetically, but I know who you are. They can call you Chris or Justin or Ferguson or Cap or Captain or Christ or whatever, I know who you are.”

“Hypothetically.”

“Hypothetically? No, I know who you are.”

“If you knew me, really knew me, I do not suppose I would have anything to fear. If you actually knew who I was you would have the greatest reverence for me...or the greatest fear...or both. Actually, I have no idea how you’d behave. I don’t know me.”

“I just want to know why you would leave everything behind to work at a...a coffee shop. You disappeared. You left and the only thing your family would say was you were gone and they did not know if you were coming back.”

“Of what you speak, the specifics of the man you confuse me with, I cannot answer, but if you are asking me hypothetically why I as that man might do what you suggest you believe he has done, I might be able to answer...hypothetically.”

“Sure, hypothetically. Why did you abandon your comfortable life — hypothetically?”

“Putting myself into the mind of the stranger, it would seem like an absurd path, on the surface. Who leaves the perfect life for the promise of nothing, especially when you ‘have it all’? It would seem to be a difficult question.

“I had everything. My children were grown, at least out of the house, so there was freedom of time. The wife was stunning, beautiful, and on occasion very loving. Businesses were sold. Nice house paid for. A vineyard. Investment accounts with various brokers. Bank accounts were flush. I could borrow more money than most of my neighbors could earn in a lifetime with the mark of an ‘X’ by my overpriced pen. I wanted for nothing.”

“That’s what I...what some of us understand. You had everything! You were the man and your wife was a fucking MILF!”

“Is she no longer?”

“Man, she did not take your leaving well. I don’t know what you were bringing, but that bitch fell apart after...”

“Hey, hey, hey, no need to address her in that way.”

“Sorry. Your MILF fell apart after you left. The rumor was you left her broke when you bailed, then we found out you left her loaded, but it was you she wanted or something, ‘cause that bi... She was broke broken. She went out with guys ‘cause she looked good, but she trashed them all. Rich and poor, smooth and slow, they couldn’t measure.”

“You don’t know how that breaks my heart. I never wanted to hurt her, but I couldn’t... I couldn’t... She was too comfortable in the life we built to throw it all away, which is understandable.”

“But why’d you?”

I didn’t.”

“Riiiiight. Hypothetically?”

[Pause. Long pause. Surrendering sigh.] “Life is meant for living, not existing. My nature is to taste the sweet nectar of life’s sweet runny juices.”

“I don’t know whatcha mean.”

“The challenge of life is to start with nothing and become something. Once you have something, something more is easy to acquire, but that going from nothing journey is so fucking unbelievable. It is not even the getting something, it is the coming from nothing and conquering with the deck stacked against you. The more and more comfortable life becomes the more I longed for nothing. I knew I had to make a change when I started to dream of being homeless while shopping for an exquisite bottle of wine with an absurd price. And I knew it was not much different than a good bottle I could find at 1% the price. I was trying to buy the feeling of living, of being alive, and that cannot be bought. A pricey bottle of wine?! Stupid. Adult grape juice, not the edge of living.”

“So you left to be poor?”

“Basically. I wanted to start again and see where the journey took me.”

“But your kids? Your lady? It was kinda fucked up what you did to them.”

“I did my best to explain. I would have resented them if I had stayed and that resentment would have turned into nasty bitterness. I know they will never really fully understand what I did, but it was the only way. I miss them. I miss them a lot. All of them.”

“They’re all doing really well. You’re one of them high achievin’ families.”

“Give their mother credit for that. She knew how to make people a success. Look at me now. When I was with her, I owned it all.”

“Yeah, but you just said you chose this.”

“I did and I would again. I do not know how to put a value on feeling completely alive. When you are comfortable, you are on the brink of death.”

“Give me some of that death.”

“There is not a rich guy I know...knew that would not love to live your life for a short while, but only if they didn’t have to give up their stuff. That was where I was different, I never cared about the stuff, I never defined myself by the stuff, didn’t worry if I could make it again. It really is about the journey. If you reach the destination, it’s over. I feared I was reaching the destination so I went to start all over again.”

“Here?”

“Anywhere, it makes no difference.”

“You’re a trip, man. You’re a trip.”

“That was hypothetical. I don’t know who you’re talking about.”

“It’s cool, your secret is safe with me.”

“Secrets are never safe...ever.”

“Yeah, but I ain’t sayin’ shit. I know nothin’.”

“However true, if you knew me you would pray to God that we both forgot this encounter. You should know, I still protect my family. I may not be seen there, but I own the shadows.”

“Dude, your secret is safe. Seriously, I don’t even know who you are. The guy you remind me of was older, bit outta shape, soft.”

“Yeah, I hear comfort and security will do that to a man.”

“Not you, man, you lookin’ good.”

“I don’t play in that field, [wink] move along.”

“Peace, brutha.”

“Let’s hope.”

Secrets — only what they are called when they get out.
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